PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a death camp survivor who spent her teen years under torturous imprisonment at some of Europe’s most horrific camps shared her story.
92-year-old Manya Perel said it’s a miracle she’s alive.
“I want through eight concentration camps,” she said.
Full podcast with Manya Perel:
Perel said, as a survivor she bears the burden as a witness to history.
“I myself was caught in this terrible hell on Earth!”
Chuck Feldman, president of the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center said stories like Perel’s are crucial to tell.
“Most survivors don’t want to relive it; some of them haven’t even told their stories to their kids and their grandchildren,” Feldman said.
But 72 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, Perel still recalls her six years of torturous survival in the death camps as if she were there today.
“They still didn’t want to go away, the nightmares. They’re running after me and they want to kill me.”
Medication can help, she said.
“I have to take medicine and I can never forget!”
Perel recalled when she and her fellow female prisoners were stripped of their identities and forced to have their heads shaved.
“So I said, why are you crying? If we live, the hair will grow back. If we don’t live, who needs hair!”
Perel believes survival was her life’s destiny to tell her story as a witness to one of the darkest times in history.