NICHOLAS GLASS: At the end of a line, the most photographed railway citing on earth. Auschwitz was always an out of the way place. The Nazis wanted to hide what they were doing, murdering people mostly Jews on an industrial scale.
In no other genocide have hundreds of thousands of people been sought out, transported hundreds of miles by train and then promptly murdered in gas chambers. This afternoon the place echoed to a chilling sound.
No one knows exactly how many people died at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but it was at least one million -- perhaps as many as one and a half million. Jews from Hungary, Poland, France, Holland, Germany, Norway, 25 nationalities in all.
There were also thousands of gypsies and gay and disabled people, anyone the Nazis regarded as inferior and disposable. Survivors braved the snow and wind to return to this afternoon's ceremony. The youngest are in their 70s, the oldest in their 90s.
EVA MOZES KOR: It looks like Liberation Day. We had as much snow on that day, too. But it was very, very nice to be liberated.
NICHOLAS GLASS: At the far end of the came, braziers had been lit by the memorial. Every survivor remembers the crematorium chimneys here and the smoke and smell they gave out day and night.
Even without the identifying scars, it was obvious who they were. They marked their programs with name and camp numbers and their new nationalities.
It was survivors who spoke first. The Polish survivor reminded us this was the largest cemetery in Europe. Another survivor, the French writer and philosopher, Simon Ville, spoke of the absolute evil that had existed at Auschwitz. The dignitaries sat and listened, Russia and French presidents, a Dutch queen.
President Putin had his say, too. It was Soviet troops who liberated the camp exactly 60 years ago. He took the opportunity to equate old fascism with present terrorism. As he said, they're equally cruel. In all this, one unscheduled speaker stood out. She was an Auschwitz survivor, too; showed us her number tattooed on her arm.Impassioned and angry, she said she stood there stripped naked as a 16-year-old. What had happened at Auschwitz must never ever be repeated.
At Auschwitz, the service ended with the singing of the Jewish prayer of the dead and the lighting of candles.