Holocaust survivor: ‘I want them to know’
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s 1938 in Germany. You’re five years old. Your father is in a concentration camp and your mother is desperately trying to get him out and get your family to the United States.
“When the Gestapo came to our house to arrest my father, that’s really where my own involvement began,” Holocaust survivor Warren Heilbronner said.
Warren has a normal childhood up until he was about five- when the Nazi party was formed.
“Our family suffered,” Warren said.
The Nazis arrested both his father and grandfather and took them to Dachau- a concentration camp.
“Scared because he wasn’t at home. I mean, ‘Where’s dad?’ ‘Where’s papa?’. ‘Oh he’s traveling, he’ll be home soon.’ My mother tried to obviously quiet us so we weren’t worried,” Warren said.
The Nazi Regime took almost everything away from Warren and his family.
“And I remember not going to kindergarten. We couldn’t go to kindergarten. You couldn’t go any place,” Warren said.
Warren’s mother finally secured his father’s release with an affidavit from an uncle in Memphis who pledged to support them when they got to the United States.
What the Nazi’s didn’t know was that his uncle passed away two weeks before Warren’s family fled German. So, they made their way to the United States.
“And my father made sure that as we passed the Statue of Liberty that we were standing at the porthole watching as the ship passed. That was the sign that we’re here in America for good,” Warren said.
Warren has lived through what many could never imagine and he wants to share it with whoever will listen.
“What I want them to do is to know, know about the Holocaust. Know what it meant. Know that one-third of the entire Jews of the world we’re destroyed by it,” Warren said.
Warren says there are parallels between what happened during the Holocaust and what is happening in our country now.
He sees history repeating itself and wants to share his story to try to stop it.
“I want to warn those who come behind me that they need to protect democracy. They need to protect liberty. They need to get rid of hate,” Warren said.
If you want to hear Warren’s full story, you can watch it here.