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January 28, 1945 – A day filled with news of Allied victories, of the slow crumbling of Axis power. But it was a day largely memorable for one thing; the one thing that wasn’t reported or even acknowledged for days and weeks after its discovery. On January 27, 1945, as the Russian army was advancing into Poland, crossing the border and re-capturing Katowice, the first town to fall on September 1, 1939, the Russians also captured the town of Oswiecim, Poland. Maybe not a well-known name in the history books, but a town that held the ghastly discovery of Auschwitz, the first Concentration camp to be liberated in the War. The discovery was so horrendous that it even shocked the Russians. Subsequently, news of the discovery was withheld for many days after. And it wasn’t until February 2nd that a first report appeared in the New York Times, as a three sentence blurb making vague reference to a “Murder Factory” that had been discovered by the Russian army. It was only after the discovery of other such “Murder Factories” in the coming weeks that word finally got out and reports told of atrocities that went past the worst of imaginations, and even then very few photos were released – the world heard verbal descriptions via radio instead. Only after the war, during the War Crimes Tribunal did the true picture emerge of just how deranged the Nazi regime was.
But the news of this day was tame by comparison – allied victories and advances on both the Eastern and Western fronts told of a war that would surely be over soon. Tales of heroism and miracles and a capitulating enemy. Talk of life “after the war” and even the resumption of sales of Radios indicated victory was just a matter of time, even though we were still cautioned to conserve and continue the war effort at home.
And that’s a little of what went on, this January 28, 1945 as reported by CBS Radio’s The World Today.