A group of now-elderly Auschwitz survivors have met for the first time since they were freed from the facility as children, as part of events marking the 70 years since the death camp closed.
Poignant images taken yesterday show Miriam Ziegler, 79, Paula Lebovics, 81, Gabor Hirsch, 85, and Eva Kor, 80, posing in front of photograph showing them dressed in striped prisoners’ robes on the day they were liberated.
USC Shoah Foundation, the US organisation founded by film director Steven Spielberg, reunited the quartet pictured in the iconic image taken by Alexander Vorontsov.
The organisation hopes to build an archive of Holocaust memories, and this year successfully identified all the children in the photograph, The Times reported.
Auschwitz was among the most notorious of the extermination camps run by the Nazis to enslave and kill millions of Jews, political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals and members of the Roma community.
As many as ten of the 13 people pictured in the image are still alive, with four able to attend the 70th anniversary events at the former concentration camp, where they were joined by nearly 300 other survivors and international leaders.
The guests gathered in an enormous tent over the gate and railroad tracks that marked the last journey for more than a million people murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
This year’s events are expected to be the last major anniversary that a significant number of survivors will be strong enough to attend — stoking fears that their stories will be forgotten amid growing anti-Semitism and radicalism in Europe and the Middle East.
One survivor, Roman Kent, became emotional as he issued a plea to world leaders to remember the atrocities and fight for tolerance.