Local Holocaust survivors spread awareness as number of hate acts rises

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The number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling, but survivors from around the region came together Tuesday to spread the word about the consequences of anti-Semitism.

"I saw the misery and the hunger and how people suffered," said 90-year-old Esther Geizhals, of Larchmont.

She was a prisoner at three concentration camps. After being liberated, she moved to America when she was 17 years old. She says she's proud of the life she's lived with loved ones.

She shared her pride Tuesday with 16 other survivors at the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center in White Plains. Their mission is to spread awareness of the Holocaust before they're no longer around to their experiences.

"Being an inmate of Auschwitz, escaping the gas chambers a couple of times and just my story," said Peter Somogyi, another survivor.

As the last remaining survivors share their stories, they want the younger generations to listen, as a way to combat anti-Semitism.

Geizhals said she wants them to make a better world and be kind to one another.

"We are all human beings and mean well," she said.

With hate acts on the rise, the center is implementing programs in schools to educate teachers, students and their parents.

"A number of hateful acts are done out of ignorance, not out of malice, so our instinct is to teach and educate what does a swastika really mean," said HHREC executive director Millie Jasper.

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