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CNN 10

Holocaust Remembrance Day. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 17, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I`m Coy Wire. Thankful to be back with you this Monday, April 17, with a special edition of CNN 10. One that

reminds us that no matter our differences we have to respect and show love for one another and we must denounce hate in all its forms whenever we see


On the Jewish calendar tonight at sundown is the start of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event commemorates the 6 million Jews who

were murdered in the Holocaust by the Nazis during World War II and celebrates the lives of those who survived. The Nazi party led by Adolf

Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, and a core element of their ideology was anti-Semitism or hostility and prejudiced against Jewish


Under Nazi rule, Jews were deprived of nearly all of their rights. They were forced from their homes sent to areas known as Ghettos, with

substandard conditions and then ultimately, to facilities all across Europe known as concentration camps. This drone video is of Auschwitz, the largest

of those concentration camps, which still stands today as a memorial and museum. The conditions in these camps were brutal and horrific. Jewish

prisoners were given little food and water were forced to work day and night. Some were deemed unfit to work and were killed immediately in

facilities intentionally made for murder.

By the end of the war, nearly two out of every three European Jews were killed as part of what Nazi Germany called the final solution. After the

concentration camps were liberated in 1945. The world vowed to never forget. We`ll hear now from one Holocaust survivor Edith Gross, who shares

her incredible story of survival with CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edith Gross is a survivor. She beat unimaginable odds, endured the horrors of the Holocaust and lived to tell her story.

EDITH GROSS: In 1944, we heard that the Nazis are coming. And I remember we went to Main Street we were watching when they came in. And they were so

tall. And their boots were so shiny. They marched into the city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edith was 15 years old living in occupied Czechoslovakia with her older sister and brothers. Her mother had died and

father had left for America when she was two.

GROSS: In the first week, we had to wear a yellow star. If you didn`t put it on and you were caught they killed you right away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the Nazi grip on the country tightened Jews were forced into Ghettos and not allowed to run businesses.

GROSS: They decided my house, where I lived happened to fall in the ghetto so I didn`t have to move. But they put in, I don`t know, maybe two or three

families. It got so crowded, there barely was room to sleep on the floor even.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then, they were taken to concentration camps.

GROSS: They told us pack everything you can you can carry and you have to leave everything behind. On the train the conditions was unbelievable. A

little pail was in the middle of the cattle car and that was our bathroom. And there were children. There were women. And no privacy of any sort.

There was barely room to lie down. And we went for days. It seems like for years. It was a nightmare, terrible. But finally arrived in Birkenau-


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many did not even survive the journey to the camps.

GROSS: When we arrived we did see a smoking crematorium and the smell was terrible. They said leave everything and get off. I remember lining up and

walking from the train into Auschwitz and there sat Mengele with a little stick in his hand first for women and then for men. And he directed the

people. This was went to work and this way went to the crematorium. The women were lining up. I ran over to my brother and I gave him a big hug.

And I could see his eyes. He was so frightened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edith managed to follow her sister to the line. She never saw her brother again. After Auschwitz, Edith and her sister were

moved to a forced labor camp.

GROSS: It was very, very hard labor. And there was a quota. And my sister always had back pain so I was very first. I was made sure that I`ve made a


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the Russians began to close in on their location, the Nazis moved them again, this time to Stutthof concentration camp.

GROSS: Five o`clock every morning, they woke us up. We had to line up. Every time person was pushed out. And of course, we knew never to see them

again. Waking us up during the night, and watching somebody being hung. Stutthof was a very, very rough place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edith sister became very ill. Her condition deteriorated rapidly.

GROSS: I remember she was on the other side of electric wire and I was yelling, Dwartija (my sister`s name). I wanted a last glance because I knew

we were never going to see each other again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Nazis becoming desperate amidst Russian advances started forcing the Jews on so called Death Marches.

GROSS: We didn`t have any warm clothes of course, and no food, no nothing. And we started to march. People would just bend down, they were shot. If

you just did anything, or you spoke, or anything they were shot. We were walking, dead, all over dead all around us. The German, as we walked

through the towns, came out to look at the zoo animals. We looked like zoo animals, dirty. And nothing. But nobody throwed us food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They marched from Stutthof to Danzig, finally reaching Konigsberg, now known as Kaliningrad in Russia, where they were

liberated by Russian troops.

GROSS: Russian tanks arrived but we were very lucky because the Russians were very, very good liberators. Right away they had a hospital. Right away

there was food, although we couldn`t eat. Our stomachs were so shrunk. And they said to us, "You are liberated."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Edith slowly made her way back to Czechoslovakia.

GROSS: When we got to the house where we live in it was taken apart brick by brick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With nothing left for her in her hometown, Edith made the journey over many months to try to leave Europe.

GROSS: I didn`t want to go to America. I wanted to go to Israel. I wanted to live amongst Jews because I was so, with the antisemitism I said I have

to live with Jews. And that`s when my father was able to get in touch with me through the Red Cross. We waited eight months for the visa. In those

days it wasn`t like now. Roosevelt didn`t want the Jews to come here he displaced Jews, even after the war. So I decided I will come to America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So she enrolled in school and learned English. Now Edith has seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Today is more

and more Holocaust survivors pass away. Edith makes it her mission to continue to tell her story.

RABBI SHIMON STILLERM, CHABAD OF ISLIP TOWNSHIP: Since she started speaking she must have reached directly a few 1000 students and community

members, residents and probably indirectly a lot more than that. She was someone who experienced the worst evil in the world. She works to bring

light to other people in her surroundings. That`s what Judaism is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says if she only changes one mind, she`s accomplished something.

GROSS: Stop hate and take people the way they are. You know, and judge people what they are. Not by religion, not by any color.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Through the Chabad organization in the town of Islip, Long Island, a community center was dedicated in Edith`s honor. She

recently took a trip to Israel where she visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem the Holocaust Memorial. Though it has been 80 years since that

horrible time, all that she is lost will always remain.

GROSS: When I hear holocaust survivors saving I`ll forgive and forget. No, there is no such a thing. I will never forget, forgive and definitely not