Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz, where during the period of just five years, 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered by the Nazis.

Set up in 1940 by occupying Nazi forces near the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland as a labour camp for Poles, Auschwitz gradually became the centrepiece in Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's "final solution" plan to exterminate Jews.

The scale of the industrialised killing at the camp, the cruelty of the guards and the pseudo-medical experiments conducted on prisoners by Nazi doctors have made Auschwitz synonymous with a coldly efficient genocide and total degradation of humanity.

Men, women and children, mostly Jewish, but Gypsies, Russians and Poles too from Nazi-occupied Europe were taken to Auschwitz in overcrowded cattle trains. Many died of hunger and suffocation during the journey which usually lasted days.

Terrified, foul-smelling and starving, those who made the trip were often relieved at the prospect of fresh air and food. They did not know that the smoke from nearby chimneys was coming from crematoria burning the bodies of earlier arrivals.

Illusions were quickly dispelled as the guards separated those capable of hard work from the elderly and children who were sent straight to the gas chambers -- the process known in the camp as "selection."

Families were divided and many women who did not want to part with their small children were shot on the spot.

Those who survived the "selection", not knowing what happened to family and friends, were stripped of their clothes, belongings and identity. A number was tattooed on their arm and they were given a soup bowl and spoon.

Dressed in characteristic striped uniforms, the prisoners were then marched towards the labour camp under the gate adorned with giant inscription "Arbeit Macht Frei".

When stunned Red Army soldiers arrived at Auschwitz, they were greeted by the sight of 7,000 emaciated inmates who had been left behind by fleeing Nazis.

Presented to you now is a compilation of archive footage of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp 70 years ago today, ending one of the darkest periods of human history.