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Ceremony Marks Nazi Camps' Liberation

April 27, 2005

More than 300 survivors of the Nazi concentration camps of Dachau and Flossenbürg participated in a solemn memorial ceremony in southern Germany Wednesday marking the 60th anniversary of their liberation. More than 60,000 people died at the two camps in the state of Bavaria before the arrival of US troops in the waning days of World War II. The ceremony, organized by the Bavarian state parliament and government, included hundreds of officials, school pupils and religious leaders. The chairman of the Dachau former prisoners' committee, Max Mannheimer, urged "people from different countries and cultures, with other customs and habits to live with each other in mutual peace and respect, tolerance and solidarity". Bavarian state premier Edmund Stoiber said that human dignity and the values of freedom and justice had been trampled at the two camps and saw the return of the survivors to Germany as a powerful, courageous gesture. More than 200,000 people from 38 countries were held prisoner at Dachau, the Nazis' first concentration camp, under appalling conditions and some 30,000 died at the camp. Flossenbürg, one of the lesser known camps, was built in the southern German village of the same name by Adolf Hitler's regime in 1938. At least 30,000 people were killed, starved or died of disease there or at one of its satellite camps.