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Holocaust survivors share their stories on anniversary of WWII's end

Horror stories of survival, seeing family members for the last time

SAN ANTONIO – In May 1945 the Russians liberated millions of Jews from concentration and labor camps.

From their homes, local Holocaust survivors share their stories of survival in Jewish Ghettos to Auschwitz.

The director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio, Judy Lacritz, said there are not that many Holocaust survivors left in San Antonio.  Most of them are now in their 80s and 90s.  

"There are only maybe a dozen still living here and maybe four of them speak at regularly at functions and to children at school events," Lacritz said.

Two of those four Holocaust survivors Lacritz was referring to are sisters Anna Rado and Suzanne Jalnos. The others are Dr. George Fodor and Rose Sherman Williams.  

All of them have been in the U.S. for many years and are friends.  

Williams recalled one of her experiences when her family was being moved by the Nazi's into a Ghetto. Williams said German soldiers were grabbing babies from the arms of mothers and throwing them into the streets.

Williams said her mother tried to intervene and tried to save one of the infants. "The next thing I knew I heard a sound. They shot my grandmother," she said. 

Rado and Jalnos shared similar memories. 

Rado said the Jews were so tightly packed into the cattle cars as they were taken by train to Auschwitz that about a fourth of the people died. She recalled a baby on that train ride crying because its mother could not produce milk--the baby was starving.  

"Somebody pulled out tomato paste. They fed the baby tomato paste. It’s something that you never forget. It stays with you," Rado said.  

When her train finally stopped in Auschwitz, Rado said she was separated from her family. “It was the last time we ever saw my father. We never got to say goodbye. My mother was only 46 years old. It broke her," she said. 

Jalnos recalled one of the daily occurrences the Jews were subjected to known as "selection committees."  During one of them, Jalnos said the German doctor who presided chose their mother to “walk to the left.”  

"It wasn't until many years later that I learned the left meant they were sent to the gas chamber,” Jalnos said. “I think they selected my mother for the gas chamber because she wore glasses."

Dr. Fodor, who studied chemistry in Hungary and obtained his Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston said he still speaks regularly at schools. 

Fodor said he gets angry with the current state of a deference towards political correctness. He says he felt people not speaking up fueled the Holocaust and fears it could happen once more.