Auschwitz survivors, Soviet veterans and leaders including Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu gather on Wednesday for emotionally-charged ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the notorious Nazi death camp's liberation.

Ahead of a commemoration at the site of the World War II camp in German-occupied Poland, 700 participants started assembling in the southern city of Krakow for a morning memorial event organised by the European Jewish Congress (EJC).

"The Holocaust is the tragedy which unites Europe," European Jewish Congress leader Moshe Kantor said on the eve of the Krakow ceremony, which US President Barack Obama was due to address by video.

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