Holocaust Survivor Visits East High School


Holocaust Survivor Visits East High School

As the saying goes, "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it." Michael Herskovitz is determined to ensure that doesn't happen. The 88-year-old Holocaust Survivor paid a visit to East High School on March 29 to talk to students about how he survived three Nazi death camps.

The Czechoslovakian-born Herskovitz was 15-years-old when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in April of 1944. He spent six months there before being transferred to two concentration camps in Austria - Mauthausen and Gunskirchen. Herskovitz said the conditions at those two camps were the worst he had experienced.

In May of 1945, British troops liberated Herskovitz's death camp. He was reunited with an uncle who informed him that the Nazis had murdered his parents and younger brother. Herskovitz later moved to Israel and fought for the Israeli Army. Then, in 1959, he and his family relocated to America where they settled in Philadelphia.

Despite having the education level of a 4th grader and not knowing the English language, Mr. Herskovitz went on to become a successful businessman, owning six gas stations, two automotive repair shops, and two shoe stores.

"With hard work," Herskovitz told the students, "you can achieve anything."

He has written two books that detail the years of his survival during the Holocaust - Early One Saturday Morning and Our Cherry Tree Still Stands.

At the conclusion of the presentation, students had the opportunity to ask questions. One student wanted to know if he hated the Germans for all of the atrocities they committed. "I don't have hate, " replied Herskovitz. "If you hate a person, that hate hurts you more than the person you hate. I don't have hate. Please, forget hate."

For more information, please contact Ms. Jennifer Neill, Digital Communications Coordinator, West Chester Area School District at 484-266-1170 or jneill@wcasd.net.