The four, who are now between the ages of 79 and 86, were part of a historic delegation of 300 Auschwitz survivors visiting Poland to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. An initiative of the USC Shoah Foundation finally brought them together – decades later.
The survivors – 86-year-old Gabor Hirsch of Switzerland, 80-year-old Eva Kor of Chicago, 81-year-old Paula Lebovics of Los Angeles and 79-year-old Miriam Ziegler of Toronto – gathered for a photo-shoot alongside the famous photograph.
For Ziegler, this was the first time back on Polish soil. "I swore I would never go back to Poland, but I feel it's my duty now to do it," she said during a recent interview with the Canadian Press.
In the photo she appears with her left sleeve pulled up, revealing her prisoner identification number – A16891 – that the Nazis tattooed on her skin.
During the shoot she recreated the gesture. "How come I am the only one showing my number? I don't know what made me do it," she tried to explain in the interview, adding that, at her then-youthful age, one army looked like any other.
In the photo, Vorontsov, who accompanied the soldiers of the Red Army when they liberated the camp on 27 January 1945, depicts 13 children – ten of whom are still alive today.
Yad Vashem had previously said that six of them live in Israel: Gabriel Neumann (fourth from the right), Bracha Katz (second from the right), Tomy Shacham (81, first from the left), Erika Dohan (84, fourth from the left), Shmuel Schelach (third from the right), and Marta Wise (80, seventh from the left).
Wise's sister, Eva Slonim, 83, who now lives in Australia, also appears in the photo.
"That I survived and my sister survived is beyond me", told Wise recently in an interview with the Associated Press. Wise, who was a 10-year-old Slovakian Jew and weighed just 17 kilograms (37 pounds) when the camp was liberated, is now 80 and lives in Jerusalem. "I've never been able to work it out. To me, as far as I am concerned, the 27th of January is my second birthday... because that's when we got another lease on life."