Holocaust survivor recalls horrors of Nazi genocide

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Holocaust survivor recalls horrors of Nazi genocide
A framed portrait of Adolf Hitler is pictured on November 20, 2019 at the «Hermann Historica» auction house in Grasbrunn near Munich, southern Germany, prior to an auction of personal belongings from German dictator Adolf Hitler and other notorious World War II Nazi leaders. An auction of Nazi memorabilia, including Adolf Hitler's top hat, raked in hundreds of thousands of euros in Munich Wednesday, November 20, 2019, in the teeth of German and international protest. The hammer fell on the Nazi leader's top hat at 50,000 euros ($55,310), according to the Hermann Historica auction house website, while items of clothing belonging to his partner Eva Braun each sold for thousands.
Matthias Balk / dpa / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — More than eight decades after the mass murder of six million Jews during World War 2, an 86-year-old survivor of the Nazis under Adolf Hitler can still recall the horrors of the genocide.

The embassies of Israel and Germany in Manila have partnered to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day through the Zikaron BaSalon, an informal gathering in a living room to hear the story of a survivor.

The Zikaron BaSalon was held on Feb. 13 at the residence of the German Ambassador and was attended by the diplomatic community, Jewish community and some local government officials.

Holocaust survivor Irene Shashar joined via Zoom from Israel and recalled the nightmare she went through at the age of five when the Nazis and Hitler ruled.

“I stand here today in front of you to tell you, Hitler did not win,” she proudly said in her narration of what she went through during World War 2.

After the Nazis invaded Poland, the Jews were persecuted and Shashar, along with her parents, had to move to the ghetto, as all Jews were ordered, and suffer terrible conditions, torture and hunger.

She shared how she spent most of her childhood hiding in different places with her beloved doll named Laleczka, staying quiet while hiding in cabinets where she couldn’t even see daylight.

Shashar’s father was killed by the Nazis in the ghetto while she and her mother managed to escape soon after through the sewer.

The survivor shared that they moved to Paris after the war but Shashar was orphaned as a teenager and moved to live with extended family in Peru.

After graduation in New York, she immigrated to Israel and established her life. She considers having two children and seven amazing grandchildren as a victory against the Nazi regime.

“I thank Irene for her moving testimony. Irene’s message is clear – our job is to pass this testimony on, because there aren’t many of them left to tell their story,” Israel Ambassador Ilan Fluss said.

“It is our collective and personal responsibility to make sure that there is no place that is not safe for Jews to be in. Especially in today’s reality, that anti-Semitism is alarming and Jews feel unsafe to be identified as Jews again,” he added.

Fluss also remembered the atrocities of the Hamas Group on Oct. 7, 2023, which he said brought back the nightmare of the Holocaust.

He thanked German Ambassador Andreas Pfaffernoschke for partnering with the Israeli embassy to continue the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration.

The Holocaust was an unprecedented genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany where six million Jews or one third of the Jewish population were murdered just because they were Jewish.

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