Auschwitz liberator recalls camp's horrors
WARNING: Some of the images in the video above are disturbing and graphic in nature.
(CNN) - He witnessed some of the worst carnage of the 20th century and has a chest full of medals to prove it. Pyotr Shogin is a veteran of Stalingrad and Kursk, some of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
But it's the memory of Auschwitz, he says, that continues to haunt him.
"We didn't know what it was at first. We entered the gates and saw a light railway track with lots trollies. Then we noticed that the trollies were designed to go straight into some ovens. We counted 9 really big ovens with cast iron doors," Shogin said through an interpreter.
What he had found were, of course, the ovens used to incinerate bodies - how the Nazis disposed of their victims. But that horror only dawned on Shogin, when he and his comrades opened the doors of the storage buildings next door.
"We opened one door and loads of shoes fell on us. The whole building was filled with shoes, men's, women's, children's. We thought, 'oh my God'. The building opposite was filled with sacks. And what do you think was inside them? Peoples' hair! Short, medium, long all packed in those sacks. Later we heard the hair was to stuff mattresses for German sailors serving on submarines,"
It is with immense pride that Shogin, along with many other Red Army veterans, look back on their role as liberators of Auschwitz.
But even 70 years since these atrocities were revealed, it's pride mixed with pain at what the Nazis did.