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Holocaust Survivor Is Proud "Eyewitness to the Truth"

Paul Herczeg recently marked the 70th anniversary of the day when American troops freed him from Muehldorf, the satellite camp of Germany’s Dachau concentration camp. He calls it his “rebirth day.”Herczeg was just 16 when he and his parents were deported from Hungary in 1944. While his mother was sent to the gas chamber, Herczeg and his father were sent to Muehldorf to become slave laborers.He recalls the experiences vividly, including a lifesaving and rare moment of mercy from his captivity.   At Muehldorf, Herczeg hauled sacks of cement to build a vast, underground jet factory in a forest whose foliage hid it from Allied bombers.Slave labourers subsisted on 1,000 calories a day while working 12-hour shifts, rotating between days and nights. Most, including Herczeg’s father, died within six weeks.Herczeg realized he would not survive much longer and determined to escape.One morning before dawn, he hid instead of joining his work brigade. But when he emerged from his hiding place, a middle-aged SS officer spotted him and asked what he was doing.“I was shaking. I couldn’t answer,” said Herczeg, expecting to be shot.But instead, the officer took him to the kitchen barracks, where half a dozen youths his age were peeling potatoes, and told him this would be his job from now on.“He saved my life,” Herczeg said.“Either he knew the war was finished or he had a good heart,” he said.After the war, Herczerg immigrated to Canada, where he built a happy life and where he still, at age 87, shares his Holocaust experiences at schools and churches.“My duty is to maintain the memory of these people. This is the only weapon I have against the revisionists, to be an eyewitness to the truth,” he said.

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