Photo Gallery | 9th annual Holocaust Exhibit at Clarksburg Elementary School
CLARKSBURG -- When Holocaust survivor Max Glauben tells his story, he dedicates it to the 11 million who died, including 6 million Jewish people.
Glauben, the guest of honor at Wednesday's ninth annual Holocaust Exhibit at Clarksburg Elementary School, spoke of his responsibility to continue telling the story of the genocide.
"Look what we are missing because of the Holocaust," Glauben, 86, said on Wednesday. "We have diseases unheard of before. Maybe they could've found a cure, given us better music, better pictures. Maybe they would have been people that would create peace."
Glauben's presentation was one piece of the annual exhibit that aims to raise awareness of the genocide during World War II.
The 20 students in eighth-grade teacher Michael Little's class spent three months on a multi-stage research project. The project culminated with the exhibit titled "Never Forget," with visual presentations of their own research and 250 artifacts from Darrell K. English, historical artifacts expert and founder of the New England Holocaust Institute in North Adams.
The students will leave for their annual trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 2.
Glauben's testimony, which included a half-hour video telling his life story, focused on his early life and time spent in surviving five concentration camps.
Born in Poland, his family lived in the area that eventually became the Warsaw Ghetto. He spoke of the change the area saw after the Nazi invasion on Sept. 1, 1939 -- the square-mile neighborhood held a half-million Jewish people. Disease spread. Food was scarce. Children were left orphans when parents died. With no one to move dead bodies to cemeteries, some apartments become inhabitable.
He told audience members of staying alive in the ghetto through bartering and, as many children did, smuggling goods.
He and his family were among 500 people forced into three boxcars by Nazi soldiers. The noise inside was "the loudest thing in the world," he said. Passengers could only stand upright for the five-day journey, and in some cases it was hard to tell who had perished.
But outside, birds chirped and bugs hummed, he said, and he knew the sky was still blue.
He and his father became separated from his mother and younger brother at Majdanek, and would never see them again. At another camp, his father was taken and he was killed.
On April 23, 1945, he was liberated by the U.S. Army, he said.
Two years later, he moved to an orphanage in the Bronx, N.Y. From there, he moved to Atlanta where he registered for the draft, and then Dallas, where he married his wife, Frida.
Still living in Dallas, Glauben travels across the country telling his story.
"If you listen to a witness, you become a witness," he said.
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