San Diego couple will return to Auschwitz to commemorate its liberation

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Next Tuesday will mark 70-years since the liberation of Auschwitz, one of the most notorious death camps during World War II.

One of the most notorious Nazi death-camps during World War II.

A San Diego couple is leaving for Poland Saturday to join other Holocaust survivors in a commemoration of the event.

Max and Rose Schindler fell in love after World War II. They were married at the age of 20, and raised a family in San Diego.

What brought the couple together was a set of unusual circumstances. Both were homeless Jewish refugees and survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

On Friday, their bags were backed and passports ready.

Max and Rose Schindler are leaving for Europe, but it will not be an ordinary trip for the 85-year-old couple.

“We’re going to join hands with survivors that have survived,” said Max.

The Schindlers are heading to Krakow, Poland, to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz was the largest death camp, and where an estimated one to one-and-a-half million people died.

Rose was only 14-years, when she and her family were taken to Auschwitz in 1944. A guard told her to lie about her age. By lying about her age, she escaped the gas chamber, however, her mother was executed.

As prisoners at Auschwitz, Rose and two sisters waited to be chosen to work outside the camp in Nazi run factories.

Rose was considered too young to work, but she used her wits to steal onto a factory transport that was taking her two sisters away to a work camp, allowing her to escape from Auschwitz.

Max who grew up in Germany, was also put to work by the Nazis.

Max was taken to six camps in three years, including the camp in Poland where the movie Schindler’s List was filmed.

The war ended in 1945, and death camps like Auschwitz were liberated, as Max and Rose joined the ranks of thousands of young Jewish refugees.

The couple met in 1947, at a hostel for orphaned Jewish children in Bedford, England.

The Schindlers married in 1950 and raised four children in California, but they can never forget the years of terror and suffering inside the camps.

The World Jewish Congress and the Shoah foundation invited the Schindlers to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Tuesday.

The couple is among a group of 200 guests, of which half of them are survivors of the Holocaust.

Max said he is looking forward to holding hands with other survivors, and said this would probably be the last mass gathering of Holocaust survivors at Auschwitz. He said it was important that this terrible chapter in our history is never forgotten. 

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