Auschwitz: The Past is Present

On behalf of program partners Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and USC Shoah Foundation, World Jewish Congress has invited survivors and liberators to be honored guests at the 70th anniversary commemoration and participate in Auschwitz: The Past is Present events. The invitation includes a child or grandchild, or other escort, underscoring the importance of gathering the next generation to take up remembrance and education at a time when few eyewitnesses remain who can make the winter journey to Poland.

The program is expecting to travel over 100 survivors. Auschwitz survivors will be coming from over 19 countries, including Greece, Argentina and United Kingdom.

Hear from some of the survivors attending the commemoration

Israel Arbeiter

Language: English

Israel Arbeiter discusses how he pretended to be an auto mechanic to trick guards into giving him a work assignment at Auschwitz so he could get food and live another day.

  • Israel Arbeiter

    Language: English

    Israel Arbeiter discusses how he pretended to be an auto mechanic to trick guards into giving him a work assignment at Auschwitz so he could get food and live another day.

  • Martin Baranek on the Sinti Roma in Auschwitz

    Language: English

    Martin Baranek describes how a group of Sinti Roma inmates were cleared out of the barracks to make room for the group of Jewish inmates of which he was a part.

  • Celina Biniaz on being added to Oskar Schindler's list

    Language: English

    Celina Biniaz describes how she and her parents were added to be on Schindler’ List. She also recalls when the women transport from Plaszow was sent to Auschwitz instead of to the Schindler factory in Brünnlitz.

  • Lilly Tykocinski Butnick

    Language: English

    Lilly Tykocinski Butnick talks about the ordeal she was forced to endure when she first arrived at Auschwitz.

  • Howard Chandler on his experience in Auschwitz

    Language: English

    Howard Chandler was enlisted by a Kapo guard to steal items from the train after new arrivals had been dropped off. He describes what happens to him when other guards catch him with contraband. 

  • Emerich Fuchs

    Language: English

    Emerich Fuchs remembers how, upon arriving at Auschwitz, he saw families together on the premises, leading him and other new arrivals to believe that their own families would be able to stay intact.

  • Dario Gabbai on being a Sonderkommando

    Language: English

    Dario Gabbai recalls his experiences as a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz II-Birkenau. He was forced to usher people into gas chambers, and then haul out the bodies, take them to the crematorium, and clean up the room for the next group of victims.

  • Kitty Hart-Moxon

    Language: English

    Kitty Hart-Moxon recalls being able to see Crematorium 4 from her barracks window at Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

  • Arek Herszlikowicz

    Language: English

    Arek Herszlikowicz made a split-second decision after getting off the train that surely saved his life.

  • Roman Kent on arriving at Auschwitz

    Language: English

    Roman Kent describes the moment the cattle car door’s opened and the utter chaos of arriving to Auschwitz.

  • Eva Kor on her experience with Josef Mengele

    Language: English

    Eva Kor and her twin sister Miriam were experimented on by infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. She describes how one experiment had nearly killed her but she promised herself she would survive.

  • Paula Lebovics remembers a caring action from Soviet Liberator

    Language: English

    Paula Lebovics speaks on the liberation of Auschwitz as a child and remembers feeling cared for, the first time in her life.

  • Branko Lustig on returning to Auschwitz for a film shoot

    Language: English

    Branko Lustig, producer of Schindler’s List and our 50,000th interviewee in the Visual History Archive; recalls returning to Auschwitz during the filming of the TV mini-series War and Remembrance. Branko also describes how important it is not only to remember the Holocaust but also for future generations to learn from it.

  • Susan Pollack

    Language: English

    Susan Pollack recalls what it was like to be selected for life or death by Dr. Josef Mengele in cursory fashion.

  • Jack Rosenthal

    Language: English

    Jack Rosenthal remembers his arrival at Auschwitz, where he was separated from his family. He and other prisoners did not know they were targeted for death, so they wrote their addresses on the bundles the guards took from them.

  • Miriam Ziegler on reuniting with other survivors

    Language: English

    Miriam Ziegler recalls how she reunited with other Holocaust survivors after she immigrated to Toronto. She also reflects on the famous photo of herself and other the children of Auschwitz photographed by Russian liberators.