These 2 Tragic Stories Reveal the Reality of the Refugee Crisis

February 3rd 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

A former child refugee of World War II and a Syrian child refugee are telling their emotional stories of war in a unique way.

A UNICEF USA video, which was released Friday, revealed some disturbing similarities between the experiences of a 12-year old Syrian boy named Ahmed and a 92-year-old German man named Harry.

"I am the child of a child refugee. My mom came to this country when she was six with her brother and without their parents," Caryl Stern, the CEO of UNICEF USA, told ATTN: in reference to her mother's escape from Austria. "They were raised in an orphanage in Manhattan."

Refugee stories are important, both professionally and on a personal level, Stern added.

In the video, Harry described the fires and destruction he witnessed as a child in Berlin with Ahmed detailing a similar experience in Damascus.

The video prominently features shocking imagery of the two stories, with one scene showing Syrian refugees walking on the left and World War II refugees fleeing on the right.

"I didn't want to leave [here] but she said we would meet again soon," says Harry in the video. "She must have known that she would never see me again."

Ahmed says that the decision to flee with only his bother was a "decision [of] whether to live or die."

"The Shared Story of Harry and Ahmed."

In another frame, refugees are packed onto a boat on the left, next to footage of World War II refugees on the right.

"The Shared Story of Harry and Ahmed."

Both Ahmed and Harry call themselves "one of the lucky ones," at the end of the video.

Stern said she hopes the video shows Americans that refugee children are suffering, and they're just like other children.

"I want Americans to stop seeing these kids as migrants or refugees," she said. "I just want them to see them as children." These kids are often traveling alone to get away from bombings and violence, have almost no resources, and many of them haven't been in school in years, according to Stern.

"The most important two acts at the moment are your voice and your wallet," she said, adding that there's a $3.3 billion funding gap to address the needs of children worldwide.

She went on to share how she hopes all Americans will share the stories of refugee children and support initiatives that will help them. "Regardless of your politics, these are children who are suffering," Stern said.

Check out the full UNICEF USA video here.

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