Spartanburg, NY

Sandor Koser’s gray eyes gleam every time he looks at his naturalization certificate.

He holds onto the edges of the document, carefully pinched securely between the tips of his fingers, as if it were a reverent object.

The 77-year-old Holocaust survivor holds it up to his chest and displays it with a proud smile.

“Today I am free,” he says with a thick Hungarian accent.

His wife, Livia, is also free.

Mr. and Mrs. Koser received their American citizenship Monday.

The couple moved to Spartanburg from Hungary in 1998 to be closer to their son Dr. Andras Koser and their three grandsons.

Mr. and Mrs. Koser were about the same age as their grandchildren when they were taken to Poland and imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most infamous Nazi death camp.

Mrs. Koser was 13 when she was placed in a group of Jewish people picked to die in the gas chambers. Her mother pled for her life, telling Dr. Josef Mengele that her daughter was 16 and a good worker.