Holocaust Survivor Shares Experiences with San Diego Sailors

Last Updated : 5/11/2011 10:27:13 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alan Gragg, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A holocaust survivor shared her experiences with Sailors in San Diego, May 5, as part of the 2011 Holocaust Days of Remembrance.

Rose Schindler, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, afforded Sailors an opportunity to hear a first-hand account and learn more about the horrors of the holocaust.

Schindler's, who was 14-years-old during the holocaust, was tragically separated from her parents and all but two of her older sisters.

The three sisters managed to survive, and Schindler recalled the last time she saw her father, who told her if they survived to tell everyone what happened. After being freed and eventually moving to the U.S., Schindler started a family.

When her children were old enough to handle it, following her father's instructions, she began telling her story. That was more than 40 years ago, and now Schindler tells holocaust survivors to share their stories and inform the newer generations.

"A lot of people don't know what happened; what was going on," said Schindler. "If we don't tell our stories now, five or 10 years down the line there will be no one left to tell these stories. You might read about it in a book, but if you hear about it from a survivor you might make a connection."

Schindler said she particularly enjoys telling her story to U.S. service members.

"When I'm in a room full of military members, I think to myself 'Thank God our military won the war," she said. "Without them liberating us, where would we be?'"

Yeoman 2nd Class Willie Truss said he was moved after hearing Schindler's story.

"I can't believe she made it out to be able to tell her story," said Truss. "God bless her, that's all I can say."

The event was in line with the chief of naval operations' encouragement of commands Navywide to raise awareness of the holocaust during the Holocaust Days of Remembrance, May 1-8, by participating in related military and community events, programs and exhibits.

This year's holocaust remembrance theme is "Justice and accountability in the face of genocide: what have we learned?"

2011 marks the 65th anniversary of the first Nuremberg trial verdicts, and it has been 50 years since the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the man recognized as the main organizer of the holocaust. Both trials set a significant precedent by ruling that the human rights violations were war crimes.

The Holocaust Days of Remembrance were established by Congress in 1980, as the nation's annual commemoration of the holocaust. The holocaust resulted in more than six million deaths from 1933-1945.

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