Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(BLOG) Houston And Stewart County Residents Enthralled By Holocaust Survivor

"Irving Roth, internationally renowned Holocaust survivor, shared his story in Nashville on Sunday, Sept. 19.

Roth appeared at St. Paul's Community Church and spoke to a large, multicultural crowd. In attendance were several residents of both Stewart and Houston counties.

Roth was a guest speaker for CUFI, the prominent organization Christians United for Israel. CUFI was founded by televangelist Pastor John Hagee of San Antonio, Texas.

Roth told the riveted audience about his life as a child in Czechoslovakia. His was a 'normal' early childhood of making friends, going to school and playing soccer. He lived at home with his parents and his older brother, Andre'.

His life changed drastically and almost overnight, as 'the demonization of the Jews' began, fueled by Nazi Germany, in the early stages of World War II.

Roth's was affected by hatred toward his people. The friends he once had abandoned him. When returning to school for the sixth grade, the principal turned he and his brother away at the door.

Signs in the soccer park read: 'No Jews or Dogs Allowed.'

Roth told the captivated listeners that his parents approached him one day and said 'You have to give us your winter coat. The police demand that all Jews turn in their coats. We are not allowed to have warm coats anymore.'

Irving reluctantly gave up his coat, and like so many others it became government property.

As the prejudice escalated, Roth's family members were only allowed to shop from 3 to 8 p.m. at the local market. Roth remembered 'if you needed milk at 10 in the morning you had to wait till 3 p.m. to go to the store. Jews were not allowed to buy groceries at 10 in the morning.'

Jews were fired from government jobs and were forbidden from owning private companies. Irving's father had to turn his business over to a friend who was not Jewish. This same friend, 'who was at my parents' wedding' Roth says, later stole the business away from his father.

The family moved to Hungary when Irving was 14. They were safe for a short time, but soon the Hungarian government wanted to 'get rid of the Jews' as much as Hitler did.

The cost of killing the Jews was 'too much for the German government, so they came up with a plan. A few men sat down at a meeting and decided that killing each Jew individually was too expensive.'

'At firing squads, each one would require one bullet and sometimes more than one bullet' Roth recounted. 'The men at the meeting came up with the idea of gassing the Jews.'

The strategy was adopted by high Nazi officials after the Wannsee Conference in January of 1942.

'They could kill more people, more quickly in a cost-effective manner,' Roth said. 'After the conference, the men went out and had a nice lunch.'

Roth's Holocaust experience was heartbreaking and he articulated it beautifully.

He said that after being taken prisoner, riding in a cattle car with no windows or ventilation, and finally ending up in Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp in Poland, that of the 4,000 people who were transported with him, only 300 survived. Among the 3,700 killed were his grandparents.

Irving watched as older, feeble people and very young children were separated from robust people in their prime. These groups were divided into males and females.

They were told that after their long and arduous train ride, they would be led to the buildings Irving could see in the distance. In these buildings they would disrobe, and take showers to cleanse themselves.

Of course, the showers meant certain death to Jews. Irving watched as his grandparents and others marched off to the 'showers' of Auschwitz, which actually were gas chambers, never to be seen again.

Irving himself endured daily examinations in which he and the other boys and men working with him were made to strip naked and walk past Nazi soldiers.

'If the soldiers deemed you too weak to return to work, you were killed.'

Roth's brother Andre' died at the Bergen Belsen camp, but his parents had been spared. While in Hungary, his father fell into a coma. The night nurse that cared for him 'was a Christian woman, a Seventh-Day Adventist,' Roth recalled.

After his father came out of the coma, the family was taken in by the nurse and was hidden by her family in Hungary. Roth himself was liberated on April 11, 1945, as American troops entered the Buchenwald camp.

As the evening came to a close, Mr. Roth shared more during a question-and- answer session, and even went so far as to show the identification tattoo he received or his left forearm at the hands of the Nazis.

He explained his tattoo number: A 10491. 'The letter A equals 200,000' Roth said. 'I was number 210,491.'" (source)

Want alerts for new videos?
Like us on Facebook.