'I've always had a great anxiety,' said one Holocaust survivor on this International Holocaust Remembrance Day
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- International Holocaust Remembrance Day marks 79 years since the Auschwitz Concentration Camp was liberated. Holocaust survivors can still be found all over the world, including here in the Bay Area. ABC7 News reporter Tim Johns got the opportunity to sit down with one survivor in his home and shares his story.
"I think it's more important for non Jews, than it is for Jews. I mean we are so conscious of it everyday."
For Bob Horowitz, the Holocaust is never too far from his mind.
Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday, he invited us into his South Bay home to discuss his journey of survival.
"I've always had a great anxiety," Horowitz said.
Born in modern day Poland in 1937, his early childhood was tumultuous.
Throughout World War II, he and his family fled throughout Europe.
Living underground for several years in the Netherlands to evade capture by the Nazis.
Being smuggled through Belgium, France and Spain before managing to get on a ship to South America.
Ultimately, in 1944, Horowitz's family was able to immigrate to the United States - setting up a home in North Carolina.
He says the difficult memories from those years in Europe and the constant threat of being captured still haunt him.
"We came so close so many times," Horowitz said.
During our conversation, he recounted one especially terrifying time while fleeing through the woods of France, where his family encountered Nazi soldiers.
An incident, Horowitz says, he was lucky to escape.
"A French girl came along and started talking to the soldiers and distracted them. Whether she did it knowingly or not I don't know, but she did," he said.
While Horowitz and his parents counted themselves among the lucky ones who managed to flee Nazi persecution, he tells us not everyone in his family shared the same fortune.
"My mother's parents died in concentration camps. My mother's uncles and aunts died in concentration camps. My father lost two brothers and a sister and two nieces," he said.
Horowitz went on to graduate from Yale Law School and have a successful career as an attorney.
These days, though, he spends time talking about his experiences during the Holocaust.
In December, he was even invited to speak at an event hosted at the home of the Governor of North Carolina.
A testament to how far Jews have come in the U.S.
"When I was a kid, there were quotas for Jews at the universities. You were told, don't go to work for the Dow 30 industrial companies because there's a ceiling and you won't advance," said Horowitz.
On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, though, Horowitz's message remains the same.
That kindness, equality and compassion are timeless.
"You would think that after a few thousand years of continuous war in the world, people would come to the realization that war really isn't very helpful."
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