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Survivors Return to Auschwitz 70 Years Later

Fifteen Auschwitz survivors, aged 80-94, returned this morning to the infamous camp – some for the first time –ahead of tomorrow’s 70th anniversary celebration of its liberation.

“When I arrived in Poland, the tall trees made me immediately anxious. They reminded me of my arrival to Auschwitz — the same day my mother and little sister were gassed,” said Johnny Pekats, 80, one of the American survivors who returned the death camp for the first time. “For years I refused to return to this horrible place, but I finally decided to come back with my son. I wanted to say Kaddish with him there. This is my first and last visit to Auschwitz and my message for the word is that it’s not enough just to remember; we have to make sure that this never happens again.”

More than 100 Auschwitz survivors from at least 19 countries have arrived in Poland today to participate in the upcoming ceremony and events.

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