Central held its annual Holocaust Symposium on Monday, April 25th. Several Holocaust survivors shared their stories with students from first to fourth periods. During third period, Anneliese Nossbaum spoke to students about her personal experience in the Holocaust.
She began her story by explaining the significance of Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”), a mass destruction of Jewish property by the Nazi party. “It was a true invitation for the rest of the world to see what was going on,” she voiced to the crowd. The Jewish people who were affected by Kristallnacht, including Anneliese and her family, feared for their lives. Her synagogue was burned down, and the Nazis made it clear that the Jews were unwanted.
Shortly after, Anneliese and her family were taken to Auschwitz, a concentration and extermination camp that was infamous for its depravity towards the Jewish people. She explained how the camp took away her youth. She watched as her mother was stripped and shaved in front of Nazi SS officers. Anneliese herself was deprived of an education, shared one room with thirteen other girls, and was given only small rations of bread to eat per day.
Anneliese was relocated to a new camp after spending a significant amount of time at Auschwitz. The new camp was a factory in which the captives worked extremely long days. The conditions there were slightly better than in Auschwitz because Anneliese received a pillow and a blanket at night. The Jews at the factory also had the opportunity to shower. However, no towels were provided, so most people didn’t shower out of fear of contracting pneumonia.
Eventually, American soldiers bombed the camp and liberated the prisoners. Anneliese and her mother were the only two of her family to survive the Holocaust. Her mother died of tuberculosis shortly after their liberation.
Anneliese encouraged the students to defend the Holocaust survivors by disproving those who attempted to claim that the Holocaust was a hoax. “My friends, you are looking at [the Holocaust],” she said.
Anneliese will be attending this year’s March of the Living at Auschwitz. It will be her first time visiting the camp since her liberation. She explained that she is returning to pay tribute to her aunt, who was killed there, in addition to religious reasons.
She concluded her testimony by assuring the students that the future is in their hands, and they are the ones who are in control of preventing something like the Holocaust from happening again. “The world is yours, and it will be for a long time,” Anneliese told them.
Jamie Razler (277)
Photos compiled by Natan Yakov (275).