Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story with Dual Enrollment Students

By Sierra McLaughlin.

Holocaust survivor John Grausz spoke to students taking Dual Enrollment English after their recent field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

Kelli Fleming, a senior who listened to Grausz speak, said, “I think it is very important that he share his story with younger generations”

In 1933, Hitler came to power and began to blame Jews as the major cause of German defeat during World War I. He defined a Jew as anyone who had a Jewish grandparent. Those who wished to convert were denied. He sent many Jews, and other groups including minorities, to Nazi concentration camps, where they were either worked to death or executed. Grausz, who was 11 at the time, was never sent to these camps, but during this time he watched as his father was forcibly taken to a labor camp for one month each summer.

In order to hide him from the Gestapo, the police in Germany acting under Hitler’s rule, Grausz’s parents locked him in an apartment. He also had  to adopt a false identity and held identification papers which once belonged to a child of his same age who wasn’t Jewish. Eventually, Grausz was sent to his aunt’s farm where two Gestapo officers once stopped by for lunch. During this encounter they threatened to shoot him when sugar was discovered in their buttermilk, as most Jews used sugar for their buttermilk.

Grausz was forced to live his life in fear and said, “You were hanging by a thread. You never knew what the next thing was going to be.”

At the end of World War II and Hitler’s demise, protection passes were given to surviving Jews. They no longer had to hide who they were. Grausz was liberated by Russian soldiers and is now able to share his story.