Lessons from Nazi camps

archive_import /

By JASON ECK

Sonora High School students Wednesday learned firsthand a lesson in history that a textbook can't begin to capture.

About 200 social studies students heard personal stories from a group of Holocaust survivors and others who were affected in some way by Adolf Hitler's atrocities during World War II.

Social studies teacher Pete Smith told students he tried to gather a group of people who brought home the Holocaust and other events of World War II that students had before only read about in books, heard about in lectures or experienced in films.

These were real stories of those who lived through the Holocaust as youths. Like the story of Rose Meyer of Stockton, who at 12 years old was one of the youngest workers in a Nazi concentration camp. She said she and others in the camp worked for weeks up to their knees in snow clearing railroad tracks.

"I didn't have to learn to work," she said. "I knew how to work."

Living conditions inside the camp were filthy. She said she didn't eat for the first couple of weeks and when she did get to eat, the food was dirty. A piece of bread was the only food each day and it was frozen, as was the water she had for drinking.

"When we did get something to eat, it was fish heads," she said, or soup she couldn't eat because the carrots and potatoes in it were rotten. No meat was offered.

Meyer survived, but her mother and sister were among the millions of Jews who were killed. Meyer said her family members were shot, put in a mass grave, doused with gasoline and burned.

Another survivor, Henry Ebstein of Stockton, whose immediate family fled from Germany to China, noted 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, 1.5 million of which were children. He said his family was "very fortunate to escape."

Fritzi Chandler of Sonora, originally from Czechoslovakia, told of helping her father escape from a Nazi work camp.

While not a Jew, Chandler had befriended Jews and spoke German fluently. Her mother was Austrian.

Chandler was in the German army, which used her for her secretarial skills. She was stationed in France.

While on leave from the army, she learned her father was imprisoned in a concentration camp and was being punished for giving food away. He had also been beaten.

11700042
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Monday May 2, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Body found near Pinecrest

04/30/2016

Unidentified human remains were found Thursday in the Pinecrest area. At 5:55 ... more

Agencies eye upgrade for 1970s-era software

04/30/2016

Tuolumne County has changed quite a bit since the 1970s, but its ... more

Rim Fire recovery plan released

04/28/2016

Federal custodians of the Stanislaus National Forest are publishing a plan today ... more

Spring in the Sierras: Dangerous and beautiful

04/30/2016

Joseph McHardy ran up the sloping ramp Friday at the top of ... more

Director resigns as infighting continues

04/27/2016

Bryan Adcox has resigned from the Mother Lode Fair Board of Directors ... more