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Holocaust survivor Henry Flescher hosts Reddit AMA, reveals experiences in 'hell'.

Henry Flescher was born in Vienna and escaped to France during WWII, only to be captured while trying to buy grapes at a market in Lyon.

He was sent to seven different German concentration camps over three years.

Mr Flescher, who did not know what Reddit was before his AMA, said his grandson helped him through the session, which received more than 7,000 questions.

“I hope this gives everyone a little perspective on life,” he said.

Mr Flescher still has a tattoo on his arm with his camp serial number 177153, used for identification at Auschwitz — the only camp where prisoners were tattooed.

When asked about the tattoo, Mr Flescher said he chose not to have the tattoo removed like other Holocaust survivors, as it would be like “removing a part of history”.

“It’s a testament to the past. It shows I survived. And I’m here, and loving life!” he said.

Mr Flescher narrowly avoided being sent to death at Auschwitz by sheer luck.

At 18, he was one of many being transported on a cattle car packed with prisoners with no food, water and just one bucket to use as a toilet.

“The smell was unfathomable,” Mr Flescher said.

After six days on the train, the guards selected 300 men. Mr Flescher was number 298.

Those 300 men were taken off the train while the others continued to Auschwitz where they were all killed.

“I will never forget the number 298.”

Day-to-day life in concentration camps

When plucked off the train, Mr Flescher said he was taken to work in a shoe factory at the Ohrdruf concentration camp for four weeks. He was then transferred to Peiskretscham where he helped build bridges.

“We worked 12 hours from six to six everyday,” he said.

After a few months there, he went on to Blechhammer, which he described as “hell”.

“Punishments were a daily routine and my front teeth were knocked out here,” he said.

“I still remember a friend of mine who was hanged because he was using a telephone wire as a belt to hold up his pants.”

Mr Flescher said when he went on to Gross Rosen, he once could not go to the bathroom for three days when he had dysentery.

“This was when I almost gave up,” he said.

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When asked how he got through each day, Mr Flescher said there were many times he almost lost hope.

“It was difficult to get the stamina to keep going. I just hoped I would survive and lived day by day.

“I lived for tomorrow. I was always positive.

“I have always believed in God. Before and after. God didn’t kill the people, the Nazi’s did.”

Although, Mr Flescher recounted many horrible stories, he did mention a special ‘secret’ meal he and inmates enjoyed on one occasion.

A couple of prisoners risked their lives and caught a dog and cooked it.

“It was a feast,” he said.

“That was the only time I’ve eaten a dog and it was the best meal I had in a long time.

“These days I prefer steak.”

‘There is no room for hate in this world’

Mr Flescher told Reddit he found it difficult to comprehend his liberation in 1945, as he was very sick at the time and weighed around 30 kilograms.

He was on a death march at the time, but managed to slip away and hide in a chicken coop along the way and eventually approached some American soldiers he saw.

“I didn’t know that day would come,” he said.

Mr Flescher said his outlook on life now was obviously very different to most people.

“Most people are never happy and complain too much. It’s too hot out, it’s too cold out. Life is beautiful. No need to complain so much,” he said.

“Life is beautiful.”

Mr Flescher said future generations must be educated about the Holocaust to make sure history does not repeat itself.

“I didn’t personally learn anything from the Holocaust. We have one life to live and you have to enjoy it. There is no room for hate in this world,” he said.

When asked whether he could forgive those responsible for the atrocities Mr Flescher said he could “never forgive, never forget”, but he has never been consumed by hate.

“Hate doesn’t improve anything,” he said.

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This post originally appeared on ABC News.

***Featured image via Imgur-

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