By Laura E. Davis, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 11/27/2007 10:52:35 PM PST

He was only 6 when he crouched in a cemetery and watched as 12,000 people were executed and pushed into mass graves.

It was 1941, and Nazi snipers were gunning down thousands of Jews packed into the graveyard in Stanislawow, Poland.

But Robert Geminder, his grandmother, mother and older brother survived.

“It was pure luck,” he said in a recent interview. “We got to the cemetery first, so we were in the back. The 6,000 to 8,000 people that were left were told to go home when it got dark and started snowing.”

Now 72 and living in Rancho Palos Verdes, Geminder has many stories with a similar theme: Without a little luck, he would have died in the Holocaust.