LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) - Seventy years have passed since Russian soldiers liberated Jewish prisoners from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Camp, the largest Nazi killing center in Europe.
As Hitler's atrocities are recalled on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Southern Nevada Holocaust survivors comment on the liberation of Jan. 27, 1945.
An estimated 400 Holocaust survivors live in the Las Vegas Valley.
Alexander Kuechel was a 14-year-old boy when the Nazis launched their campaign of terror against German Jews on Nov. 9, 1938, a night dubbed "Kristallnacht" - The Night of Broken Glass.
Kuechel witnessed Hitler's rise to power. Because he was Jewish, he was sent to seven concentration camps over a three-year period.
But Kuechel never gave up and was eventually liberated in 1945 by Russian troops. Asked how he survived, Kuechel answered, "Luck, luck, luck."
Many in Ann Jenner's family were not so lucky. Five of Jenner's aunts and uncles were killed, along with two grandparents, at the Nazi concentration camps.
Jenner and her two brothers, a sister and both parents escaped death by going into hiding in Holland - reminiscent of a different Anne.
"I feel lucky. My name is Ann. Could have been me," Jenner said. "Could have been picked up with my parents. Lucky me." The Jenners eventually came to America together, where all the children, and two more born after the war, live today.
Miriam Zaidmann Borowsky has painful memories of the war. Many of her family members were murdered by the Nazis.
Borowsky grew up in France, where her father fought for their country against the Nazis as a soldier during the French invasion of 1939. Her dad was sent to a work camp and eventually to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was killed.
Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada has social luncheons throughout the year and its members are invited to numerous Holocaust remembrance functions.