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David Dushman, last surviving Auschwitz liberator, dies aged 98

Soviet war veteran David Dushman, 92, center, talks to people holding Ukrainian flags as he attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Russian War Memorial in the Tiergarten district of Berlin, Germany, May 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Soviet war veteran David Dushman, 92, center, talks to people holding Ukrainian flags as he attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Russian War Memorial in the Tiergarten district of Berlin, Germany, May 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

David Dushman, the last surviving soldier who took part in the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1945, has died at the age of 98.

Dushman, a Red Army soldier who later became an international fencer, died on Saturday, the International Olympic Committee says in a brief statement.

On January 27, 1945, he used his T-34 Soviet tank to mow down the electric fence of Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland, helping to set prisoners in the death camp free.

Only after the end of the war did he learn about the scale of the atrocities in the camp.

Dushman was one of 69 soldiers in his division who survived the war, but he suffered serious injuries. Nevertheless, he went on to become a top fencer in the Soviet Union and later one of the world’s greatest fencing coaches, the IOC says.

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