Holocaust Survivors' Memories Never Fade


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Monday marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. From Poland to the United Nations, Israeli ceremonies commemorated the deaths of 6 million Jews in what some call history's greatest crime.

The world remembered the Holocaust, but for survivors, the memories never fade.

"There is not one day when we don't think about the events hidden in our minds. There is not one day. It always returns. Dreams return. We still hear in our dreams dogs barking, those German commands," Auschwitz Concentration Camp survivor Wieslawa Borysiewicz said.

In Auschwitz, more than 50 Knesset members joined Holocaust survivors and world leaders to mark the liberation of the worst of the Nazi death camps.

They shared memories of the place where Nazis murdered more than 1 million Jews, where the life expectancy of those arriving was sometimes measured in minutes.

"Dogs were barking and there was a terrible smell," Auschwitz survivor Bogdan Bartkowski recalled. "We didn't know what the smell was. We could only see the chimneys with flames a couple of meters high. We didn't know that it was the crematorium."

At the United Nations, filmmaker Steven Speilberg shared the hope of Holocaust survivors.

"Survivors and witnesses often say that their dearest hope, the hope that helped keep them alive, was to be heard and to be believed and to be understood," he said.

Speilberg made the film "Schindler's List," the story of Oskar Schindler who saved thousands of Jews, like Rina Finder, during the Holocaust.

"Oskar Schindler has proven, like a shining star, that there is always something somebody can do," Finder said.

All around the world, whether in Auschwitz, the United Nations, or in Jerusalem at the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial, the refrain repeated over and over is "Never Again."

"It's important to come here and to give testimony that we were prisoners," Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Janina Reklajtis said. "It should be a lesson. Such events shouldn't happen again."

"As we pass the torch of memory to the next generation and the generations after, we want them to remember. We want them to remember what most people would like to forget, and forgetting is dangerous," Finder said.

"Theirs were journeys into the Holocaust," Spielberg said. "They cannot emerge from it and neither can the world until there are no more genocides, until the unthinkable becomes impossible."

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