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Vail Daily letter: True Holocaust

Dr. Michael Schneider
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

I have been hearing the word “Holocaust” being bantered about an awful lot lately by some of the pseudo-pundits on radio, television and in Congress to describe certain issues such as immigration and health care (or the lack of it for the uninsured).

About 10 years ago I met a wonderful woman by the name of Magda Herzberger. I would see her about once a year and she would start the conversation by telling me of her experiences over that past year. Magda is a Holocaust survivor and has written a book and poems about her life and experiences. She is a demure reserved woman.

One day I decided to Google “Magda Herzberger” and to my horror, I was shocked to find out that at the age of 18 she was in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where her job was to dispose of thousands of dead bodies in the camp. Magda has written a book entitled “Survival.” It is about her life experiences during the Holocaust.



Yesterday I met with my cousin Esther, whom I have not seen for over 50 years. I had been thinking of her recently because she too was a Holocaust survivor. I guess hearing that word “Holocaust,” used pretty freely lately, triggered something in my memory. It took me days on “Ancestry.com” to track her down and I still don’t know how I finally got to her, but I did. Esther was born in the woods in Poland during the Nazi occupation. If you have seen the movie “Defiance,” you will understand what these people endured for years while hiding from the Nazis.

Esther’s sister, Sarah, was fortunate to have been kept by a sympathetic non-Jewish family from about 1943 until the end of the war. After the war ended, Esther and her family were kept in a camp in Germany for awhile, where they were still subjected to the terrors of anti-Semitism.



She then told me how it felt to come to America, the land of the free and the land of opportunity where her mother and father worked tirelessly to provide for the family.

During the Nazi Holocaust, 6 million Jews were exterminated through gasing and the mutilation of medical experiments. Along with those 6 million Jews were Christians, Gypsies, the infirm and a myriad of others.

The reason I am writing this letter to the editor is that what the Nazis perpetrated on the Jews and others during World War II and the horror occurring today in Darfur are the only examples of “man’s inhumanity to man” deemed a Holocaust that I believe are on modernday record.



To that point, you may be in agreement with the new immigration laws in Arizona or you may disagree with the new laws, but to liken those laws or that lack of health care to the uninsured to the Holocaust is both unconscionable and disrespectful to those who have truly suffered that end.

Dr. Michael Schneider

Avon


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