Local holocaust survivor calls Charlottesville attack a wake-up call

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A holocaust survivor from Las Vegas is spreading a message against hate following a violent, extremist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

Ben Lesser and his sister, Lola, were the only two members of their family to survive the holocaust. 

Lesser was in and out of ghettos and concentration camps for five years until he was liberated at age 16. 

"I remember seeing the American G.I.'s coming in and some of the survivors were crawling on their legs, hands, and feet, just to be able to kiss one of the G.I.'s boots," Lesser recalled. 

Painful wounds were reopened Saturday when Lesser watched the events in Charlottesville, Virginia unfold. 

"It's like putting a needle through my heart," Lesser said. 

Lesser was especially shocked by the display of pride from some Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who gathered at the "Unite the Right" rally. 

"I always knew there were some Nazis here and there, but not organized like that," he said. "This is America. This is not supposed to happen here." 

Lesser works to teach people to accept one another through his foundation -- The Zachor Foundation. 

He said the violence at the rally, which left one person dead, shows the importance of never forgetting the holocaust. 

"The Nazis did not start with killing. It all started with hatred," he said.

 

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