PHOTOS: Holocaust survivors commemorate Auschwitz anniversary

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

BRZEZINKA, Poland (KGO) -- Solemn ceremonies on Tuesday afternoon marked 70 years since liberators reached the Nazis' most notorious death camp. On this day in 1945, the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz.

Above the entrance of the concentration camp, a German sign still stands that translates to: "Work makes you free."

The commemorations were tinged with a sense of anxiety at the growing anti-Semitism and radicalism in Europe and the Middle East.

"Jews are targeted in Europe once again because they are Jews," said Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

One survivor, Roman Kent, became emotional as he issued a plea to world leaders to remember the atrocities of World War II and fight for tolerance.

"That's the key to my existence. We survivors do not want our past to be our children's' future. We survivors do not want our past to be our children's' future," he said to applause while fighting back tears.

Kent and his brother survived being imprisoned at several Nazi death camps.

This may be one of the last ceremonies to include more than a handful of survivors. Most of the 300 in attendance were in their 90s.

The Germans killed some 1.1 million people at the camp, most of them Jews, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, Polish political prisoners and others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.