Berlin [Germany], June 7 (ANI): David Dushman, the last surviving soldier who helped liberate Auschwitz-Birkenau, has died at the age of 98, according to a statement by the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria.
Dushman helped free prisoners from the notorious Nazi concentration camp as a soldier for the Soviet Red Army in World War II, reported CNN. He died on Saturday.
The president of the local Jewish community, Charlotte Knobloch, called Dushman the "Hero of Auschwitz" and said in a statement that he saved "countless lives."
"Every contemporary witness who passes away is a loss, but the farewell of David Dushman is particularly painful. He was one of the last who could tell about this event from his own experience," she said.
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration camp run by Hitler's regime, witnessed the murders of over 1.1 million men, women and children in the camp's gas chambers. Over six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Following his military career, Dushman went on to become an international fencer and fencing coach. He was the USSR's best fencer in 1951 and coached the Soviet women's team from 1952 to 1988, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Thomas Bach, the German president of the IOC and a former fencer, knew Dushman personally. Bach said in a statement that he was "deeply saddened" by the news of Dushman's death, reported CNN.
"When we met in 1970, he immediately offered me friendship and counsel, despite Mr Dushman's personal experience with World War II and Auschwitz, and he being a man of Jewish origin. This was such a deep human gesture that I will never ever forget it," Bach said. (ANI)