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Ban Ki-moon to be first UN chief to see Auschwitz

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November 12, 2013 05:27 PM EST | AP


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A spokesman says Ban Ki-moon plans to make the first-ever visit by a United Nations secretary-general to the infamous Auschwitz death camp in Poland. The camp remains the most vivid symbol of the cruelty of Nazi Germany's genocide of World War II.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky announced Tuesday that Ban will visit the camp "to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and to stress the importance of the U.N.'s work for genocide prevention, tolerance and peace."

More than 1.1 million Jews died in Auschwitz and the adjacent Birkenau death camp in gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labor.

Ban will fly to Krakow, Poland, following visits to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and will then go on to Warsaw to attend the high-level session of a U.N. conference on climate change.