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Jewelry recalls Auschwitz horror

As a slave laborer in Auschwitz, Meyer Hack was forced to sort through the tattered clothing stripped off inmates before they were sent to the gas chambers. He gathered valuable belongings hidden inside the clothes, stuffed them in a sock, hid them and later spirited them to freedom.

On Monday, the 95-year-old survivor now living in Boston donated eight pieces of gold, silver and diamond-studded jewelry to Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, as a tribute to the original owners, who perished.

Hack recalled his journey with the jewelry, from Auschwitz to other death camps and ultimately to freedom in America, recalling harrowing sights along the way.

"I was not human. I was a piece of meat, a robot," he said, his voice cracking as he rubbed tears from his eyes. "But I said 'I want to survive,' My heart told me 'I will survive.' I kept telling myself: 'Don't die, don't die, don't give up.'"

Hack was born in Ciechanow, Poland, in 1914. In 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz with his mother, brother and two sisters. The women were murdered upon arrival. His brother survived the selection but Hack later saw a guard strike him repeatedly on the head with a wooden plank, killing him.

Hack lied to his captors and told them he was a tailor, which earned him a transfer to the "clothing chamber." There he discovered the items he has now donated to the Holocaust memorial.

Dean Solomon, Hack's friend of 30 years, said only in recent years did Hack confide in others about his story and his rare mementos.



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