As a teenager surrounded by war and Nazi domination in 1940, 83-year-old Holocaust survivor Dina Oppenheimer wondered if she would ever survive beyond the age of 20.
"I was spared from a terrible fate in the camps, and then lose my life there, and I feel that it's important, we don't have many left, for me to speak up," Oppenheimer said.
Speak up she did. On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps, the Freeport resident described the horrors of living as a Jew in Holland during World War II. After Nazi Germany invaded her country, Oppenheimer witnessed her Jewish neighbors being rounded up and suffer their last gasp of freedom.
"Closed cattle cars, without water, without food, until they were coming to thousands of concentration camps, where they were gassed and burned," Oppenheimer said.
Oppenheimer escaped the death camps, going into hiding from 1942 to 1944 in Southern Holland. During that time, an estimated 110,000 of 140,000 Dutch Jews were murdered.
"I took the chance, which was dangerous to take, and that we survived. You had to do something. It didn't come to you. You had to go yourself," Oppenheimer said.
And sixty years after the Holocaust ended, Oppenheimer is using her struggle of survival as a reminder of the fragility of life, and the human tragedy which results from every global conflict.
"We have to learn to live with each other, whether we are not coming from the same origin. We are all human beings. There is no race, there is the human race.
It’s a human race forever shaken during the Jewish Holocaust.