For a man who runs a mortuary and memorial park that arranges about 1,500 funerals a year, Len Lawrence spends a lot of his time thinking about the living. In particular, he thinks about those who have suddenly lost a loved one and are caught completely unprepared for the many decisions that revolve around the ritual of burial.
Each year, the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet forces is marked on Jan. 27, but this year, the 60th anniversary has given Poland, site of the most infamous Nazi death camps, a special opportunity for remembrance and reflection.
The anniversary ceremonies, which will be held at the memorial site in Birkenau, will draw an assortment of international dignitaries and leaders. Among those slated to attend are Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Ukrainian President-elect Viktor Yuschenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin.