In an interview with CNN, Holocaust survivor Sonia K. spoke about her experiences in the Holocaust and said that silence is the worst thing after hatred.
“Silence is the first thing after hate that is dangerous,” Sonia explained. “Because if you are silent, it’s an approval of what’s going on.”
According to Sonia, no one in the 1930s believed the Holocaust could happen – and no one today believes it can happen again.
But the last few months “have felt like 1938 all over again” and Sonia now fears for her descendants.
“What do you want me to think? That it cannot happen again? Yes, it can happen.
It’s awful. When we came to Auschwitz, there were thousands of us… I smelled every day the bodies that were being cremated.”
“The Nazis that I lived through, and the Nazis now, I don’t think much has changed. They have the same hatred. Given an opportunity, I think they could repeat what went on.”
She warned that the Holocaust did not occur in a vacuum. There were warning signs similar to the events occurring today, Sonia said, but society didn’t listen.
“I’m worried for everyone’s sake, because there’s this hate towards people.
And right now it’s not only towards Jews, it’s towards humanity… What is a couple of nights not sleeping, to let the world know what happened, and to understand that silence is not the answer, and hate is not the answer?”
Sonia was born in Poland and lived in the Warsaw Getto until she was taken to the Majdanek concentration camp in mid-1943. From Majdanek, she was transferred to Auschwitz.
In April 1945, she was liberated after surviving four concentration camps, losing her parents and younger brother.
Sonia married after the war and spent four years living in Germany before emigrating to New York.
She noted that during her four years in Germany, “everyone claimed that they hadn’t known that their Jewish neighbors were disappearing.”
“The Holocaust took place because individuals, groups and nations made decisions to act or not to act.”
“It’s easy to say, ‘never forget,'” she told CNN. “But…we could find ourselves repeating a regrettable history. We all need to be on guard, resist and fight.”