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A survivor's story

By Alison Nickle, anickle@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 11 2013 10:37:59 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 12 2013 04:42:21 PM CST
ABINGDON, Va. -

“Those of us who don't learn from our history may be doomed to repeat it," said Emanuel Mandel, a Holocaust survivor.

Mandel says he is one of only 144,000 survivors living in the United States.

Now, years later, Mandel shares his experience in Abingdon. “We are a diminishing resource; we as eyewitnesses are not going to be here that much longer," he said.

At the age of five, Mandel remembers living in a concentration camp, and how the segregation began. “Yellow star, the law came in and yellow stars had to be worn by everybody," said Mandel.

He and his family were sent to Bergen Belsen concentration camp, the same place as well-known Anne Frank.

Mandel explained just how fast people were being transported. “I'm told the Bristol community, in both states, is almost 40,000 people. In just two to three days Bristol would have been clear," he said.

After six months of living in a camp, he and his family got leave as part of a trade deal.

On May 8, 1945, history was made and World War II came to an end. That same day Emanuel Mandel celebrated his ninth birthday.  

Years later people are able to hear his story, like World War II veteran Ray Duncan. "I just hope it never happens again," Duncan said after the presentation.

"It is another thing to read it in a book and a list of dates, but to hear it first-hand from an eyewitness is an amazing opportunity," said King University student Maggie Rust.

Time will pass, but because of Mandel and those like him history is able to live on in hopes for a brighter future.