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By OMAR RICARDO AQUIJE- Glens Falls Post Star

HUDSON FALLS —Fred Spiegel was asked if he felt resentment toward the Nazis.

“Yes, to the Nazis, but not the Germans,” Spiegel said.

The question came from a student at Hudson Falls High School, at which Spiegel was invited Friday to discuss his life during the Holocaust.

On April 13, 1945, a train traveled across Germany, carrying 2,500 Jews en route to a concentration camp.

Spiegel was among them. He was 13.

Holocaust survivor Fred Spiegel sells and autographs copies of his book, "Once the Acacias Bloomed," for students at Hudson Falls High School on Friday, May 24. Spiegel, who was liberated by U.S. troops as a young boy during World War II, spoke about his experiences and answered students' questions. (Jason McKibben -

Holocaust survivor Fred Spiegel sells and autographs copies of his book, “Once the Acacias Bloomed,” for students at Hudson Falls High School on Friday, May 24. Spiegel, who was liberated by U.S. troops as a young boy during World War II, spoke about his experiences and answered students’ questions. (Jason McKibben –

Spiegel, 81, visits schools to talk about how he survived. He brings copies of his book, “Once The Acacias Bloomed,” which explains his life as a Nazi prisoner.

Most of the schools he visits are in New Jersey, where he lives. The farthest he travels is Hudson Falls, a school he visited a few times in recent years, a school he included in his book because it was here an important moment in his life occurred.

“They invited me,” Spiegel said of his reason for returning to Hudson Falls. “How can I say no?”

During Friday’s presentation, Spiegel often said he was lucky to be alive.

Other trains carrying Jewish prisoners made it to their destination. His did not.

His train suddenly stopped near Magdeburg. Spiegel said the train’s engineer and Nazi soldiers fled for fear of capture. U.S. troops was cutting across Germany.

Then, a few U.S. soldiers on tanks found the train and freed the captives. The soldiers included Carroll Walsh, of the 743rd Tank Battalion.

Spiegel was later reunited with his family. It was 65 years later when the unexpected happened: He was invited to Hudson Falls to meet others who were prisoners on the train.

He also got to meet some of the liberators, including Walsh, who was living in Hudson Falls at the time.

Matt Rozell, a Hudson Falls history teacher, organized the reunion. He met Walsh in 2001. He interviewed the former soldier, and learned about the train near Magdeburg.

Walsh died in December. He was 91 and a former state judge.

Spiegel, a native of Germany, said people have shown more interest in the Holocaust over the years.

During Friday’s visit to Hudson Falls, he spoke to about 30 sophomores. Some of them had copies of Spiegel’s book. Others bought the book after the presentation.

Armand Ryther, a student, approached Spiegel to shake his hand.

“I find it very interesting that he could survive what he did,” Ryther said.

Ryther said he read Spiegel’s book.

Jamie Hughes, a fellow sophomore, said it was interesting to hear about Spiegel’s experiences.

“I think it’s really amazing that he would want to share his experiences with everybody,” she said.

Tara Sano, a Hudson Falls history teacher, said the event was planned near Memorial Day so students can reflect on the efforts of veterans.

“My hope is that when you are taking your three-day weekend, you think about why you have a three-day weekend,” she told students at the start of the presentation.

http://poststar.com/news/local/article_00a9219c-c648-11e2-ae69-001a4bcf887a.html

See Fred meet his liberator for the first time.

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In 1986 I traveled to the Soviet Union with a group of teachers. I was pre-service, but wanted the experience of traveling to Russia.
We flew into Moscow, toured a few days, then took the night train to Leningrad. It was April, it was beautiful. People were in a festive mood on the tour bus.
Then they took us to Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery, just outside the city. Mournful music blared from garish loudspeakers.  Conversation ceased. We realized that here lay more people lost in one city’s siege than in all of America’s war dead. In one city. Mass graves. Mostly civilians. Nearly half a million. But just a fraction of Soviet war dead. During the Cold war, our official state tour guides insisted that we see this. I am grateful that they did. Eyes were opened.  Inscribed there in rock:
Here lie Leningraders
Here are citydwellers – men, women, and children
And next to them, Red Army soldiers.
They defended you, Leningrad,
The cradle of the Revolution
With all their lives.
We cannot list their noble names here,
There are so many of them under the eternal protection of granite.
But know this, those who regard these stones:No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.
So in the month of May, Remembrance Month in my eyes.

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