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Holocaust Remembrance Day: Survivors Share Stories Of Terror As Young Children And The Lengths To Survive

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thursday marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner spoke with Holocaust survivors in our area.

From his Riverdale, Bronx apartment, Eugene Ginter told Rozner he was only six months old when the war broke out in Krakow, Poland.

"We went into the ghetto, and we became the Krackow concentration camp, which you see on Schinder's List," Ginter said. "My mother was on Schinder's list, she worked for him."

His father stayed with him, at one point asking Nazi soldiers permission for them to die together.

"They took our clothes, stripped us naked, gave us a hot shower, and then they ran us naked in the snow," said Ginter.

WEB EXTRA: Watch Eugene Ginter's Extended Interview With CBS2's Lisa Rozner

Ginter says SS physician Dr. Josef Mengele turned them around from the gas chamber after receiving a letter that the war would be ending soon.

"It's very hard to explain how you can be 24 hours a day, seven days a week live in total terror. Not fright, but terror that any moment you can be killed for any reason," he said.

That terror was also felt by Rena Quint, who was three years old when the Nazis invaded Poland. Her mother and two brothers were murdered, and she was deported with her father to a concentration camp, where her father helped her pretend to be a boy in a factory to survive.

"He cut my hair, he found some clothing, and he told me I was a boy, and I became a boy," Quint told Rozner. "I was 10 years old, because boys under 10 were useless."

Holocaust Remembrance Day
(Photo: Eugene Ginter)

Seventy five survivors' stories are now on display at Projekt 105 gallery in Tribeca.

Quint, who eventually moved to Brooklyn, is featured in the moving tribute called "Survivors: Faces of Life After the Holocaust," organized by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center and famed photographer Martin Schoeller.

Born in Germany, Schoeller said he was educated about the war growing up and felt a responsibility to educate others.

"So something like this cannot happen again," he said. "Unfortunately, I think there's still a lot of people doubting that the Holocaust ever took place."

WEB EXTRA: Watch Joseph Guttmann's Extended Interview With CBS2's Lisa Rozner 

The FBI says hate crimes targeting Jews comprised almost 55% of all hate crimes last year -- a statistic that disappointed survivor Joseph Guttmann, who was transported to Switzerland as a 5-year-old from Hungary.

"I feel definitely uncomfortable going out to synagogue, going out with a yarmulke on the street," he told Rozner.

Ginter is participating in the "We Remember Campaign," organized by the World Jewish Congress to preserve the memory of the Holocaust.

"Write the words 'we remember' on a sheet of paper, take a picture," said Cory Weiss, director of digital advocacy for the World Jewish Congress.

Another hashtag, "#DontBeABystander also recognizes the heroic actions of non-Jews who risked it all to save a life. Stories that need to be told, so future generations never forget.

CBS News is running an hour-long special called, "Undeniable: The Truth to Remember," at 8 p.m. Sunday. It follows Holocaust survivors who share their stories with a group of students from a Texas school that does not traditionally teach the history of the Holocaust.

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