Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holocaust survivor bears witness to atrocities - News Of Delaware County - Delco News Network

Holocaust survivor bears witness to atrocities - News Of Delaware County - Delco News Network

By Lois Puglionesi
CORRESPONDENT

HAVERFORD TWP - Haverford High School English instructor Jen Ward has taught thousands of students about the Holocaust through books like Elie Wiesel’s “Night.” But Ward has always felt her classes have difficulty “making the connection between history and a real person.”

So this year Ward tried something different. With help from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center she arranged for a Holocaust survivor, Michael Herskovitz, to visit the school last week.

A warm and affable man with a heavy European accent, Herskovitz, 81, described growing up in a small Czechoslovakian village where his religious Jewish parents owned a grocery store. Herskovitz said he never felt different because people treated each other with mutual respect.

But in 1943, when Herskovitz was 13, Nazi soldiers arrived and the happy life he’d known forever changed.Herskovitz described how within weeks synagogues closed, his parents lost their store, Jews were put under curfew and forced to wear yellow Jewish stars.

Stating that it was for their own “protection,” Nazi soldiers transported Herskovitz, his parents and siblings to a ghetto where they were given a tent to live in and fed once or twice a day.The situation grew even more ominous when soldiers took the family to a railroad station and put them on cattle cars crammed with 60-70 people. The train picked up many more passengers before reaching its final destination, Auschwitz.

Read more at the News of Delaware County
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