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Julius Maslovat, 77, paused and then clicked on the icon, bringing a sepia-coloured photo of a serious-looking young couple up on his computer screen.

These were his parents, but 2010 was the first time he had ever seen their picture.

"I have no memories of my mother at all," Maslovat acknowledged, while staring hard at the photo.

When he was four months old, a soldier discovered Maslovat and his mother hiding in a bunker in a Polish ghetto.

A split-second decision by his mother as they were marched down a fenced corridor toward a holding area saved his life.

"She saw my father on the other side of the barbed wire fence and threw me to him,” said Maslovat.

His father fled with the infant while his mother continued on and was taken to an extermination camp, Treblinka, where she was killed.

Eventually, Maslovat and his father were also rounded up, and sent to a concentration camp.

"I became the youngest ever inmate of Buchenwald," said Maslovat.

But the Nazis didn’t seem to know what to do with the young children who ended up there.

"They didn't really have a method of killing us and the adults that were working, they were killed by work, some were shot, some were tortured, some were starved, some committed suicide."

Maslovat was then sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, where he managed to survive until being rescued by the British Army when they liberated the camp in April 1945.

Decades later, Maslovat was watching a documentary, which included some filming the British had done in the camp, and saw a few seconds of a little boy running a brush slowly through his hair. He realized he was looking at himself.

Yet when Holocaust Remembrance Day comes around, images like that are not what grip his heart, nor the loss of both parents.

It is the current state of the world which hurts.

“I see what's happening now as an echo of what happened in the 1930s – ‘33 onwards when Hitler came to power," said Maslovat, pointing out there have been recent, deadly, attacks on synagogues, mosques, and churches around the world. 

"It's very discouraging, in that I'm worried about what's happening, not just in Canada or the U.S. but globally. There's a lot of hatred being spread in Europe and we had the incidents in New Zealand as well, so it's global, as opposed to just local and that is what I'm trying to do something about," he said.

"It seems as if no religion is safe," said Micha Menczer, a child of Holocaust survivors, adding that there is diminishing tolerance toward all kinds of groups, based on religion, race and sexual orientation.

“They’re all targets of attacks. Hate has no boundaries," said Menczer.

That’s why he believes it is important to learn from the Holocaust, and hear survivors' stories. But as time marches on, it is taking more of the survivors with it.

Menczer is part of the Victoria Shoah Project, a group encouraging the next generation to tell their parents’ or grandparents’ stories for them.

The group doesn’t want only the negative stories shared, but also the incredible stories of compassion and heroism.

For him, an immediate example is a man who helped his parents survive the camp, by smuggling food to his mother at the fence at night.

"Everybody could have been shot, my mother would have been shot, the man who helped could have been shot, these people are heroes, both the Jews and the non-Jews. Let's not think of these people, alive or dead, as these sad, pathetic, victims. They were heroes,” said Menczer.

That is why neither he nor Maslovat want historic footage of Jews starving in the camps shown to illustrate their stories.

Both also agree on the importance of teaching tolerance and equality to the next generation, and that the way forward is for each generation to do better than the last one.

To that end, Malsovat regularly speaks at schools.

He said students almost always ask him how he feels about Germans now.

His response has always been unequivocal, that he doesn’t hold Germans responsible for what their parents or grandparents did. If he did, that would make him a racist.

"If I was that, I would consider that the Nazis won the war. That they would have changed me, to be hateful, and that is not what I will allow myself to do."