Holocaust Survivor Visits Panama City Beach

Naval Support Activity Panama City pulled out all the stops Thursday to make sure the more than 6 million Jews murdered during the holocaust aren't forgotten.

A rabbi led a traditional Jewish prayer, before audience members watched videos chronicling the Nazi atrocities and genocide against an entire race.

Holocaust survivor Dr. Victor Sapio delivered a riveting account of his 8 years in a concentration camp. His family was interned when he was an infant. Sapio says his "My first sight on any given day was a dead body... I don't think you ever overcome it."

Now 75, Sapio still has vivid memories of the horrors he witnessed, and the stories of those that his mother passed along. He also remembers the last day he and his mother spent in the camp.

It began like most, with the morning head-count, which was usually followed by the executions of as many as 4-prisoners.

Then a few hours later, their German captors boarded trucks and left, shortly before British troops liberated the camp.

The British began feeding the survivors, and Sapio remembers what he calls "mounds and mounds of food," and thinking he'd never be hungry again.

Sapio says his mother told him about ice cream and he often fantasized about strawberry ice cream.

Once he made it to America, that's the first thing he tried. He didn't like it -- it didn't live up to his fantasy flavor back in the camp. But he says out of the bad came some good.

"In the sense that I got to come to the U.S. I have a certain amount of compassion and understanding...but I'm not particularly different from anyone else."

But for those who meet him he's a living testament of survival. Sapio and his wife of 50 years live in Pensacola.


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