Nazi camp survivors' child says must not forget

Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:52pm EDT
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By Sarah Marsh

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Susan Schwartz, who was one of the first babies born in the Displaced Persons (DP) camp of Bergen-Belsen, says her generation has a duty to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive as Nazi camp survivors die out.

Schwartz, who was in Germany to attend ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, said her parents proudly bore the numbers tattooed on their arms as a reminder of what they had survived.

"The survivors are going to be gone, so it will be my job, as a survivor's child, and that of my children to make the story of the Holocaust real," Schwartz told Reuters in an interview.

An estimated 70,000 died in the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, victims of an ideology of racial superiority.

The vision of horror recorded on film by the British troops who discovered the camp on April 15, 1945, has gone down in history -- some 55,000 skeletal figures, ravaged by hunger, thirst and typhoid, barely distinguishable from the thousands of rotting corpses surrounding them.

Schwartz said many of the survivors attending the ceremonies had brought their children and grandchildren to make them aware of what happened during the Holocaust.

"It is so important to remember because we don't want anything like this to ever happen again," said Schwartz, who had brought her daughter and was wearing her mother's wedding ring.

She says her parents never had the chance to say goodbye to their families, who were torn apart and mostly killed during World War Two.   Continued...

<p>Susan Schwartz, one of the first children born in the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp to two holocaust survivors, poses for a portrait as she visits the Bergen-Belsen Memorial at the site of the former concentration camp on the 65th anniversary of its liberation in Germany, April 15, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>