Holocaust survivors mark Remembrance Day 2014 on Monday, when Israel stops for a moment to pay respect to the more than six-million Jews that were exterminated by Adolf Hitler during World War II, one of the darkest hours in history.
As citizens remember not only the victims that perished by the systematic extermination of Jews at the hands of the Nazis during the second World War, but the survivors of their atrocities, air raid sirens sound and motorists, as well as pedestrians stop what they are doing and pause.
Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014 or Yom HaShoah began in the evening of Sunday, April 27 and ends in the evening of Monday, April, 28 and commemorates about two-thirds of the Jewish population that resided in Europe and were victims of the genocide.
For two-minutes every single Jewish citizen bows their head and goes back in time and more likely than not, they will remember a family member or friend that suffered at the hands of Hitler’s henchmen.
As the events are farther removed from the younger generations memory, those who are still alive and survived the concentration camps remember the events that changed their lives and the world forever as if it was yesterday, not only on Remembrance Day this 2014, but every day of their lives.
Israel is home to the largest survivor community in the world, those who after the end of the war flocked to the land they now call home and helped build it from scratch.
When the Associated Press asked a group of Holocaust survivors to recall their most vivid memory of the horrors they endured, invariably their thoughts were about a loved one, who suffered the most unimaginable end.
The most unforgettable memory for Holocaust survivors this Remembrance Day 2014 is being separated from parents or siblings at a very young age, as was the case for 86-year-old Asher Aud (Sieradski), originally from Poland, who for over six-years was taken away from his family and was forced to fend for himself in a ghetto, finding food where he could and fighting a serious illness alone.
He was later sent to Auschwitz death camp, where he miraculously escaped the gas chambers and later on the infamous death march through the freezing snow on the way to Mauthausen, where anyone that fell was shot on the spot by the Nazis.
At the end of the war, he roamed through a series of camps for the displaced and finally boarded a ship to what is now Israel in the hopes of forgetting the nightmare he had endured.
Aud is one of six survivors who was chosen to light a torch to commemorate Remembrance Day 2014 on Sunday night during the official ceremonies.
For Aud, the one thing he will never forget is being taken away from his mother in September of 1942, at the age of 14, when the Nazis raided their small community. His family was already separated, after his father and older brother were taken away.
They lived inside a local cemetery, with his mother and younger brother when the Nazis came for them:
“I remember looking down and I happened to be standing on my grandmother’s tombstone. The Germans walked among us and anytime they saw a mother with a child, they tore the child from her arms and threw them into the back of trucks.”
“I looked around and I just said ‘mother, this is where we are going to be separated.'”
“I didn’t even feel it when the Germans hit me but every time they struck my mother and brother it was like they were cutting my flesh.”
This is just one of millions of similar stories about what men, women, and children of Jewish heritage suffered at the hands of Hitler. Of the nearly nine million Jews living in Europe, more than one million children, two million women, and three million men were exterminated during the Holocaust and are honored on this Remembrance Day 2014.
[Image via Shutterstock]