David Dushman, the last surviving Allied soldier involved in the liberation of Auschwitz, has died aged 98.
The Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria said on Monday (Australian time) that Mr Dushman had died at a Munich hospital over the weekend.
As a young Red Army soldier, Mr Dushman flattened the forbidding fence around the notorious Nazi death camp with his tank on January 27, 1945.
After the war he helped train the Soviet Union’s women’s national fencing team and survived the attack on the Munich Olympics. Later in life, Mr Dushman visited schools to tell students about the war and the horrors of the Holocaust.
“Every witness to history who passes on is a loss, but saying farewell to David Dushman is particularly painful,” said Charlotte Knobloch, a former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews.
“Dushman was right on the front lines when the National Socialists’ machinery of murder was destroyed.”
Along with other heroes of Auschwitz, Mr Dushman has saved many lives, she said.
Details on funeral arrangements and survivors weren’t immediately known.