Holocaust survivor Heinrich Rotmensch returns to the concentration camp were 70 years ago he escaped from hours before he was due to die.
Survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp near the eastern German city of Weimar gathered on Saturday to commemorate the camp's liberation by American soldiers on 11 April, 1945.
Among them was Rotmensch, who spent more than seven years in various concentration camps until the end of World War II.
“I grew up in concentration camps and spent time in eight of them,” he said.
“I was transferred from the Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp in Poland to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. And then I was transferred to a small town in Tuttlingen.”
A local German, Rotmensch studied, played, lived and grew up just like any other German children until his family’s Jewish identity was revealed.
Taken by the Nazi SS when he was just 15-years-old, Rotmensch never saw his parents again.
Years later, he learned that his mother died in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz, while his father was shot dead by the Nazis army. His body was never found.
Rotmensch and many others were rescued by the French Army after it marched into Germany.
"The French controlled the whole train as we were being sent to the execution site. Fortunately, we ran into the French Army and got saved," he said.
Praying for his parents and brothers in Hebrew in front of the Monument to the Jewish Victims at the Buchenwald concentration camp, Rotmensch said that Germany had done well reflecting its Nazi history.