Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I wanted to attend the city council meeting last night, as it had some intriguing items on the agent, but instead opted to go to All Saints Church to listen to Holocaust survivor Murray Lynn speak to the Men's Club. With all due respect to the council meeting, I'm pleased I made the choice I did.

A native of Hungry, Lynn, now 79, spoke in vivid detail about how his father was taken by Hitler's secret police in 1942 (his father was a Jewish community leader), never to be seen again; and how two years later the SS took him, his three brothers and his mother. They were herded into a cattle car and hauled off to the infamous concentration camp of death in Auschwitz.
On their arrival, Murray, now 14 years old, was placed in one line and the rest of his family in another. He would never see them again. Murray found out later that day, that his mother and brothers were executed, their remains burned, bellowing from a nearby smoke stack.

Lynn spoke of a typical day at the concentration camp: a meal in the morning that consisted of one cup of coffee and one piece of bread, a full day of work in the mines, and then a small bowl of the foulest smelling soup for dinner. (he estimated an intake of 150-180 calories a day; the average adult needs at least 1500 calories just to perform normal functions). This was the daily routine; 7 days a week. There was no deviation.
Lynn spoke of possessing just one striped uniform and one pair of shoes (no socks). In the winter of 1944 in Auschwitz, temperatures routinely dipped below zero. He had no coat. For extra warm, he wore a cement bag, which he found in the mine, under his uniform. During his one year stay in Auschwitz he never bathed - he was covered in lice. There was no hospital.
Lynn was one of the lucky ones, as 2.5 million Jews were exterminated in Auschwitz. He was asked about the sense of joy he felt when the American forces arrived to liberate them in 1945. He said he was so sick, both mentally and physically (he weighed about 60-65 pounds), that he could not comprehend what was happening. He said many of his fellow prisoners actually died after being rescued because they over eat.

Asked how he survived, Lynn said it was his mind set - the will to live. He says to this day, he still has nightmares about Auschwitz; every few months awoken by his own screams.

2 comments:

Susan A Stephens said...

A year late, but just found this story. Thank you for posting it. Murray is my dad's oldest and dearest friend. They met in 1956. It was tough for Murray to finally talk about his experience, but we're all glad he did. Some stuff my dad didn't even know about all these years.

Bob Fiscella said...

Susan,

Great to get your post. A year later and I still remember Murray's talk that night.

God bless both men!