David Dushman, the last surviving Soviet soldier who helped liberate Auschwitz in World War II died on Saturday. He was 98.
The former soldier died at a Munich hospital, according to the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria.
The Red Army soldier “was right on the front lines when the National Socialists’ machinery of murder was destroyed,” said Charlotte Knobloch, a former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews.
“Every witness to history who passes on is a loss, but saying farewell to David Dushman is particularly painful,” said Knobloch.
Over a million people, mainly Jews, were killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945.
Dushman, riding in his T-34 tank on Jan. 27, 1945, flattened the electric fence surrounding the Nazi death camp.
“They stumbled out of the barracks, they sat and lay among the dead. Terrible. We threw them all of our canned food and immediately drove on, to hunt fascists,” Dushman recounted in a 2015 interview with Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
“Skeletons everywhere,” he said.
Following the war, Dushman trained the Soviet Union’s women’s national fencing team for four decades.
He also frequently visited schools to speak to students about the horrors of the Holocaust.
With Post wires