Auschwitz tattoo
Auschwitz tattoo Flash 90

Among the survivors lighting a torch in the official state ceremony for Yom Hashoa (Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day) is Asher Oud (formerly Anshel Sieradzki), a survivor of two ghettos and three concentration camps in Poland. In an interview with Arutz Sheva Oud said that the lighting of the torch was “my third victory over the Nazis."

“The first was when I went into Auschwitz at the head of a group of 250 troops, with Israeli flags and a Torah scroll, to the exact same place I was deported to 70 years earlier as a frightened and pathetic boy going into the unknown,” said Oud.

“My second victory was when I received the 'Yakir Yerushalayim' (Key to the City of Jerusalem) award, and today is my third victory,” he said.

Oud travels to Poland three times a year, leading groups of teenagers and IDF officers. “I speak anywhere and everywhere about my experiences, and it is always like the first time,” he said. “At first I would cry out loud, but now I have learned to keep it inside. When I tell the story, I see my parents and my community before me.”

Oud does not believe there will be another Holocaust. “I trust the IDF, and we will remain strong to prevent another Holocaust. If we had had the IDF in 1939 it wouldn't have happened.” European Jewry, he added, “had no place to run, and now we have Israel. Even now when I hear threats from Iran I am not bothered. G-d in Heaven is protecting us, and I believe this even though I am not religious,” he said.

Oud also discussed the difficult financial straits facing many of the survivors. “I don't have to read newspapers to know that many of them are not doing well. It is without doubt the government's responsibility to deal with this, there are millions of shekels available in the government's trust fund for survivors. Each day 35 survivors die. Why not distribute the money so they can live their last days like human beings?”