The advancing Soviet troops met some resistance from remaining Nazi troops in the Polish city of Oświęcim, but by 3pm on 27 January 1945 they had captured the Main Camp and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich called the meeting in the Berlin suburb, in which he outlined the deportation of European Jews to extermination camps in Poland where they would be systematically murdered.

German Nazi forces had invaded Poland two days earlier, claiming to be acting in self-defence following a ‘false flag’ operation.