(NEW YORK) — Holocaust survivors Mikhl and Millie Baran expressed their thoughts about immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and recent anti-Semitic attacks during an appearance on The View Monday.
The couple joined The View for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Mikhl and Millie Baran both grew up in Oszmiana, Poland. However, they didn’t know of each other until after they escaped the Nazi concentration camps and went to the Polish city of Łódź, where they met during a chance encounter. “When I met her, she immediately captured my heart and that was the luckiest day of my life,” Mikhl Baran, 97, said of Millie Baran, 94.
The two fell in love and married each other a short time later, but they had to wait over four years before they could be granted visas to the United States. Mikhl Baran described seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time while arriving at New York City’s harbor.
“Through the mist, I saw this torch,” he said. “That’s America! That’s America!”
The couple settled in Brooklyn, New York, which Millie Baran said she “loved” because it had some of her “best memories.”
“We felt so free,” Millie Baran said. “We were walking the streets, all kind[s] of people, all races. We felt at home.”
Millie Baran spoke on The View Monday about the border crisis and the way in which asylum seekers have been treated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration.
“When I saw it on television, I couldn’t believe it and my heart was aching. As a mother, seeing the children [that] were separated from their parents,” Millie Baran said of the Trump administration’s policy that resulted in thousands of migrant families being separated. “To us, it was a dream to get here. Naturally, it was worth it to wait, because when we came here, I practically kissed the Earth.”
“Who doesn’t want to come to America? The best land in the world. The lucky one who can come here, a land of opportunity, of freedom,” Millie Baran said. “I’m sure that the United States will find a way…to accommodate people who want freedom, who want a good life.”
“Let’s hope for the best. Let’s hope that this will change,” she added.
Mikhl Baran, meanwhile, spoke about the rise in violence against Jewish communities in the U.S.
“Anti-semitism, we felt as children,” he said. “You should be a human being with a friendly attitude toward everyone on Earth because the bible teaches us all the time: If a stranger lives among you, behave yourself like you’re his brother.”
Mikhl Baran spent his entire career teaching in New York City schools and summer camps. He just retired from New York’s Camp Kinder Ring, where he taught Jewish culture and lessons of the Holocaust.
Married for nearly 75 years, Mikhl and Millie Baran have left a lasting impression on thousands of people for over five decades. The resilient couple has two daughters, three grandsons, and two great grandchildren together.
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