Woman shares her Holocaust survival story to East Texans

(Source: KTRE)
(Source: KTRE)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - More than six million people were murdered during the deadliest genocide in history, known as the holocaust.

On Sunday, a woman -who escaped the concentration camps as a child- shared her story to a group of people at the Southside Baptist Church.

"I was six when I was herded into the ghetto, which then became as a concentration camp," said Rosian Zerner, a survivor.

Zerner, 81, was just a small child when her family was forced into the concentration camps.

However, Zerner said, her first six years of life were vastly different.

"I was born into a very privileged family. We had a 1935 Ford. We had a nanny, a cook, a housekeeper. All kinds of wonderful things. And then one day we had nothing," Zerner said.

Being from Lithuania, Zerner said, the Nazis were targeting Jews -killing them in mass shooting sprees- where the elderly and kids were the first to die because they weren't able to work. At which point Zerner's parents took action, monitoring the guards, timing their shift change and digging a hole by the fence to plan her escape.

"They risked their lives to save mine" Zerner said.

As the years passed, after her escape Zerner reunited with her parents.
"The miracle, and I've had so many in my life, is that my mother and my father have also survived. As intact family, we were able to rebuild our lives," Zerner said.

But that wasn't the case for so many other people who died in the genocide. Zerner urged people to learn from history, as a way to prevent it from repeating in present time.

"We do have a spark that can change things, if we choose to do so and not follow blindly," Zerner said.

Zerner aims to influence each person she comes across with, a heart filled with love. She hopes people will take the message to their families and friends and be the messengers themselves.