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World commemorates the int'l Holocaust Memorial Day

(Xinhua)    20:01, January 27, 2015

BEIJING, Jan. 27 -- Seventy years have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, but that part of history has never been forgotten and continues to make all mankind reflect the past and strive for better future.

On the International Holocaust Memorial Day, Elzbieta Sobczynska, 81, who was sent to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp at the age of 10, looks back on the tragic events at the "Death Factory."

"The war has taken my childhood, and it has also changed my whole life. I want to say, let there be no war anymore!" She told Xinhua.

On Aug. 1, 1944, more than 50,000 citizens of Warsaw, both civilians and soldiers held a large-scale armed uprising against the German Nazis.

However, the uprising failed, Sobczynska, her mother and her 12-year-old brother, were banished from Warsaw. They were sent into Auschwitz on Aug. 12, 1944.

Compared to physical destruction, mental torments were more cruel and brutal. The gas chambers, the crematoria and constant presence of death were all tremendously traumatic experiences for a 10-year-old child, Sobczynska said.

The impact of war on people's life is multifaceted. To heal the spiritual wounds it causes, it needs the efforts of even several generations, she said.

"Everyone should be conscious of the fact that as long as there is no war, even if there is only bread to eat and water to drink, it is happiness," she said.

As one of the survivors of the camp and the World War II, Sobczynska has been continuously introducing her life in prison to the outside world, incessantly calling for peace.

Gizelle Cycowyczs, another survivor of the holocaust, recalled that her most impressive feeling at the Auschwitz concentration camp was starvation.

"We suffered hunger and cold, even in the storm we don't have shoes to wear, we were tortured every moment of our life by starvation," she told Xinhua.

"I don't want to tell you what I had eaten in order to survive. Actually, 'survive' is a rational and abstract term. Hunger hurts, cold hurts. That's our feeling," she said.

Gizelle, born in 1927 in the former Czechoslovakia, had a happy life before being sent into the Auschwitz concentration camp with her parents and two elder sisters.

She recalled that the train compartment sending them to the camp was narrow and crowded, people died everyday aboard the train for sickness or hunger, and some women gave birth at the train cart.

Upon the arrival at the concentration camp, she and her sisters were sent to a factory. They worked hard in order to survive and finally were saved alive after the liberation of the concentration camp.

However, her father was killed in a gas chamber only hours before the Soviet Union army liberated the camp.

The Auschwitz concentration camp was built in 1940 by German Nazis. By 1942, more than 1.1 million Jews were killed there, including Poles, Romanians, Soviet captives and others.

Because of war, a radical change happened to Gizelle's happy family, whose dreams and life were instantly shattered.

Gizelle works now as a psychological doctor in Israel to offer psychotherapy for holocaust survivors, which brings great satisfaction to her.

Meanwhile, recalling his last meeting with his parents, Boris Brown, 95, can not help weeping. He and his parents were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where his parents were dragged away upon the arrival of the train and killed instantly in a gas chamber.

He showed to Xinhua his left arm carved with a string of numbers "120598". He said "this is my prison number, this is the history."

The Holocaust is not just a tragedy of Jewish people but also a universal lesson for everyone around the world to learn, Kimberly Mann, manager of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program said.

In October 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing Jan. 27 as the annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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