POLITICS
04/24/2014 03:29 EDT | Updated 06/24/2014 05:59 EDT

Foreign minister John Baird visits site of Auschwitz Nazi death camp

OSWIECIM, Poland - Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister paid a visit Thursday to the memorial museum at the Second World War Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi death camp.

John Baird and the Canadian ambassador to Poland, Alexandra Bugailiskis, walked through the "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) gate though which inmates were brought into the camp from across Europe to face death either in its gas chambers or from forced labour, starvation and disease.

From 1940-45, the Nazis killed over 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, in Auschwitz and in neighbouring Birkenau.

Baird visited an exhibition that documents the atrocities and preserves the memory of the victims.

Baird placed roses in Poland's national colours of white and red at the Executions Wall, where inmates, chiefly Polish resistance fighters, were shot. Baird made an entry in the museum's book of visitors.

Later Baird met with Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski in Warsaw for talks concerning Europe's security and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Baird said the international community should not accept Russia's "aggression" in Ukraine and committed to help the country develop its democracy.