Some of the last survivors of the Holocaust gathered in the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz on Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of its liberation by Soviet troops in 1945.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivors walk in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters

Between 1.2 and 1.5 million people died at the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps during World War II, most of them Jewish. Many deaths were not registered due to groups being sent directly from the trains to nearby gas chambers, immediately on arrival at Birkenau. Survivor Halina Skalmierska was eleven years old when she came to the camp. "I was thinking how much I went through. When we came back there was no house or anything, (there were) no parents. But you needed to live on," she told Reuters, remembering the liberation.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivors walk in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters

Halina Zalewska was only two years old when she came to Auschwitz where her entire Jewish family were brought from Belarus. "Our mother could see us only once a month for half an hour. (We) the children did not know who their mother is," she told the news wire. Zalewska lost her parents in the death camp and was adopted by a Polish family after the war. She only learned about her family roots 20 years later.

Holocaust Memorial Day
27 January: A Holocaust survivor stands in front of the 'death wall' in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters

The survivors also visited a new exhibition at the former camp, called Archeology, showing newly uncovered personal items of Auschwitz victims for the first time to the public.

"I constantly cry, constantly, because our psyche was mutilated, because we were camp children. Although I was not in Auschwitz but in the camp in Lodz. They called it 'small Auschwitz' for Polish youth and children on Industrial street. There were such (harsh) rigors and the procedures were so cruel towards us. Later, some girls came from Auschwitz and they wanted to go back here, because it was worse at ours in Lodz. There was no older prisoner there, only the children by themselves." Krystyna Szpigel, a Polish survivor told Reuters.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivor places flowers at the 'death wall' in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters

The uncovered items in the exhibition had first been discovered in 1967, during excavation works in the area around the gas chamber and the crematorium III in the former Birkenau, but were left forgotten for decades in the basement of a building belonging to the Polish Academy of Sciences until 2016. Objects collected by guards of the death camp from their victims included thermometers, bottles of medicine, jewellery, cutlery, watches, brushes, tobacco pipes, and many other items small enough to fit into a pocket.

They were the last remaining personal belongings of the Auschwitz inmates, who were referred immediately upon selection at the ramp, to death in the gas chambers.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivors walk in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters
Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivors walk in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters
Holocaust Memorial Day
The Nazi slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' (work sets you free) is pictured at the gates of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters
Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivors attend a prayer and tribute ceremony at the Memorial of the Victims at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau near OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters
Holocaust Memorial Day
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo attends a prayer and tribute ceremony at the Memorial of the Victims at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau near OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters
Holocaust Memorial Day
Survivors attend a prayer and tribute ceremony at the Memorial of the Victims at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau near OswiecimKuba Ociepa/Reuters

In Weimar, eastern Germany, Holocaust survivors attended a service at the Buchenwald concentration camp to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Buchenwald
Visitors walk at the entrance gate of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial near Weimar, GermanyJens-Ulrich Koch/Getty Images
Buchenwald
Visitors stand at the crematory of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial near Weimar, GermanyJens-Ulrich Koch/Getty Images
Buchenwald
Visitors stand in front of the entrance gate of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial near Weimar, GermanyJens-Ulrich Koch/Getty Images
Buchenwald
Holocaust survivor Pavel Kohn (R) and his wife Rut Kohn arrive to place flowers at the former Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp near Weimar, eastern GermanyMartin Schutt/AFP
Buchenwald
Holocaust survivor Bertrand Herz (L) places a flower on a memorial plate at the former Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp near Weimar, eastern GermanyMartin Schutt/AFP
Buchenwald
Thuringia's state premier Bodo Ramelow and others commemorate holocaust day at the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, GermanyMartin Schutt/AFP