Woman recalls escaping the Holocaust at annual event - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Woman recalls escaping the Holocaust at annual event

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - She was in Europe when Hitler took over and tried to exterminate her people. Now, Susan Warsinger, who escaped the Holocaust, is working to make sure future generations never forget.

"I want them to use the lessons that all of us have to learn from the Holocaust," Warsinger said.

Warsinger and her family escaped Germany before being taken to a concentration camp.  Even though she never witnessed those horrors first hand, the pain of that time is still with her 75 years later.

Tuesday afternoon, she spoke to hundreds in the Holocaust Survivor Series at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas.

Her story is told through the eyes of a child because when Warsinger was just four years old, Hitler came to power in her home country of Germany.

"We were living in a very nice house and my father a lemon store," Warsinger recalled. 

Things changed quickly following Hitler's rise to power.

"They told all the people not to go shopping at his store and eventually he had to close his store down because he couldn't make a living anymore," Warsinger said.

It was long before Warsinger herself was discriminated against.

"There was a law all over Germany that Jewish children weren't allowed to go to school," she said.

Though that didn't bother her, Warsinger remembers being called names like 'Dirty Jew'.

Warsinger said once, a German man began throwing rocks and bricks at her for walking into a park. Warsinger said the man's 10-year-old daughter then started doing the same thing.

"All of the children knew that I was Jewish and they had learned from their parents that Jews were no good."

By 1939, Warsinger and her siblings were smuggled into France.

"I wasn't really there when the atrocities were occurring. I wasn't there when the people were going to the concentration camps and were being gassed," she said.

Warsinger says when she came to America in 1941, she brought something of the Holocaust with her.

"I felt really guilty because I was saved and all these other people died," she said.

Her desire to leave her past behind her and begin a new life as a normal American girl resulted in her story being bottled up inside her for decades.

"I had always thought this was something that we should put in the back of our head and not talk about," Warsinger said.

However as the years passed, Warsinger realized the importance of sharing her story.

She said when the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in the early 1990's, many Jews who escaped the Holocaust began to speak of the atrocities that had happened.

"It finally struck all of us that we were going to die soon and we have to go and tell somebody that this was happening," she said.

So she does speak. Warsinger tells her story to young and old, hoping the history of the Holocaust won't repeat itself.

"We need to tell people about what happened so that it will never happen again," she said.

The series is an annual event hosted by the Black River Technical College. It's a collaboration with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where Warsinger works.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.

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