This statement was read at the reunion by my good friend and comrade in arms, Tara Sano.
Dear Matt, George, Carrol, Teachers, Students and my fellow Survivors,
I will never forget the day when I opened the Website of the Hudson Falls High School ‘WW2 Living History Project’, and before my unbelieving eyes I was looking back to 1945 – more accurately to April 13th 1945 – the day of my Liberation by the 9th US Army.
The 11 photographs before me were taken when I was 6 1/2 years old (younger than either of my two little granddaughters). The Train had stopped at the siding of the small station Farsleben, some 16 km from Magdeburg. I had been on this train with my parents and some 2,500 people all from the Camp Bergen Belsen. I had been incarcerated there from July 15th 1943 till April 7th 1945. In the camp we had the unusual classification of ‘For Exchange to Palestine’, most were classified as ‘Jew’. I think that this is the only reason that we were kept together and survived as a family for nearly two years in the most horrific of circumstances.
So now some 61 years on in January 2006, in front of my computer at my home, I was confronted with photographs of the day of my Liberation. I found this experience so raw and emotional that I screamed and then burst into tears. I studied the photographs looking and searching for myself. I thought that I could be one of the little girls, sitting in the group photo – I dismissed this for I assumed my mother would be somewhere nearby, but I did not see her.
I looked at the bleak, miserable geography of the site, the horrible train carriages, the skeletal human shapes – fortunately my memory is still a blank. I do not remember being in the train for 6 days, I do not remember being hungry or thirsty. All I remember is being out of the train, standing on the ground and watching the German guards fleeing and dropping their guns. I picked up one of these guns and before I could do anything – it was snatched from my hands. That is my only memory of that day. However, the events of the day are documented visually and that is incredible to believe. For no written words could describe so vividly the happenings of that day as do these 11 photographs. It is a historical miracle that Major Benjamin and Tank Commander George Gross had their small Kodak camera – and that on that day there was film left to use and record the day.
With today’s incredible technology anyone on our planet can see this photographic evidence of my Liberation. It is the foresight of that other man of goodwill – your History Teacher Matt Rozell that these photographs were posted on Hudson Falls High School Internet Website – for all to access.
Following a series of events, I have developed a warm email relationship with Professor George Gross, with Judge Carrol Walsh and Carrol’s daughter. It is a great joy for me to hear about their lives today and of their family happenings. The fact that this connection was made some 61 years after the event is very difficult to believe possible. But it is so.
The friendship I have developed with these two wonderful men has helped me to bring some sort of closure to that unfortunate time in my childhood. The interest they, as well as Matt, have shown in wanting to know my story has given me the encouragement I needed to write about some of my experiences. I did do so, and my story will be published in an Anthology of some twenty stories of the members of my Child Survivors group here.
Thank you Matt Rozell, for teaching your students about tolerance and the evils of prejudice. I applaud and compliment you on your good work. You have touched the lives of your students and a growing number of Survivors. You have also I think affected the lives of the two Liberators – George and Carrol.
Your history course on this Train at Magdeburg is teaching your students the evil that was perpetrated by the Nazis during the Holocaust, against innocent people whose only sin was that they were Jews.
I hope one of the messages that your course has instilled in to the psyche of your students is that ‘Evil Happens When Good Men Do Nothing.’
I wish you all great success in your future endeavours.
Lexie September 2007