‘We must remember it’: Holocaust survivor shares experiences of Auschwitz-Birkenau

Susan Pollack shared her story to schoolchildren in south London.

A Holocaust survivor has been sharing her experiences of Auschwitz-Birkenau to schoolchildren in south London.

Susan Pollack spoke to the pupils from Lilian Bayliss Technology School, ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp.

“We will do what we can to counteract any form of racism, any form of antisemitism,” she told Forces News.

“We must remember it.

“Nothing like that is acceptable because we know now from experience what can take place.

“Each and every person is responsible.”

At the age of 14, she was transported to the camp with her mother and older brother from Hungary to Auschwitz in 1944.

She said they were put into a train that would normally be used to transport “cattle”.

“Doors were shut, it was hot in the summer,” she said.

“They placed two buckets [in the train] for 100 people, at least, a bucket for drinking water, which spilled as soon as the train went, and the other one for human soil.

“At first we thought ‘is this a resettlement?’

“And yet we were clinging onto something hopeful,” Ms Pollack said.

Her mother was killed in a gas chamber and her brother was forced to move the dead bodies in the camp.

Once the camp was liberated, Ms Pollack had lost the ability to walk and had stopped speaking, because of the ordeal her body had been through.

“I wanted to die. I was ready to give up,” she said.

When asked what stopped her from completely giving up, she said: “I crawled out, I couldn’t walk.

“I crawled out into the open and I wasn’t conscious anymore.

“But somebody lifted me up… and placed me in an ambulance.”

Ms Pollack said the person who saved her was a “soldier”.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated on 27 January 1945, when Soviet troops entered the camp.

The Soviet Army liberated more than 7,000 of the remaining prisoners from the camp.

It is estimated that around 1.3 million people were held in Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945 – at least 1.1 million were murdered – almost one million were Jews.

Those deported to the death camps were gassed, starved, worked to death or even killed through medical experiments by the camp’s doctor.

Now Auschwitz-Birkenau, known as Auschwitz II, remains in Poland as a constant reminder of the genocide.

At the same time presidents of Lithuania and Poland missed Holocaust forum in Israel.

Moreover, following Poland’s lead, lithuania proposes controversial Holocaust law. Lithuanian lawmaker for the ruling party of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis announced last month that a committee he heads is drafting legislation declaring that neither Lithuania nor its leaders participated in the Holocaust.


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