On January 27, every year, the Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated all over the world: it commemorates the end of the Holocaust. In fact, on 27th January 1945 the Soviet Red Army troops arrived in Auschwitz, revealing to the world the horrors of the concentration camps, the horrific places where the Nazis interned and killed Jews, freeing the few survivors. Events to remember the tragedy of the Shoah (the extermination of the Jewish people) have been taking place throughout Europe: at schools, in political institutions, such as parliaments and municipalities, on TV. This year lots of events have been held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no more effective way of remembering those horrors and making it known to the new generations, than telling the stories of those who lived them. Here is a strong testimony that will shake the consciences of lots of people: the story of Goti Bauer.

When the racial laws came into effect in 1938, Goti Bauer was 14 and lived in Italy with her parents and her younger brother. Her family tried to escape and find shelter in Switzerland, but they were betrayed by some friends, who should have helped them, instead then they were arrested by the Fascists.  In May 1944 Goti was deported to Auschwitz. During the journey, she often heard the German words: “Durch den Kamin”, that means: from here you can only get out through the chimney. In the extermination camp Goti Bauer often comforted the other prisoners. Since she has come home, after the liberation, has never stopped to testify her experience. Goti married soon after she had been freed. Her husband, who passed away in 2002, had wanted to leave her a “gift”, making her the serial number tattooed on her arm erase. Today Goti considers that gesture a mistake: “Removing the tattoo was useless. That number remains imprinted in our souls”.

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Flavia Bonini


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