WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Of the remaining Holocaust survivors most of them are 85 years or older, but we’re quickly losing them and their stories to time. The Westfield Chamber of Commerce raised a stage, allowing one man to share his story.
About 1.5 million children were killed during the Holocaust, but despite the odds of being moved from around to four concentration camps, at roughly 13, Frank Grunwald survived. He now feels compelled to share his story to keep the memory of those who didn’t make it alive.
On stage in front of a crowd of people, is a familiar setting for Grunwald. For years now, he’s been sharing the story of how he survived the Holocaust.
“My brother and mother 16-year-old brother were killed in the Holocaust,” Grunwald said.
In 1943, he and his family were expelled from their Prague, Czechoslovakia apartment and rounded up into a ghetto before being shipped to various concentration camps. Typically, children were the first victims.
“I survived three other camps in Austria and was liberated on May 20, 1945 by the American army. It was a miracle that I survived, and I feel like I need to talk about it,” he said.
The Westfield Chamber of Commerce held a ticketed event, allowing others to listen to a firsthand account of the horrors millions faced in various concentration camps.
“This is a message that needs to be delivered all the time annually. People need to hear it and understand that this is a part of our collective history of the world,” Steve Latour with the chamber of commerce said.
Grunwald says most of his aunts, uncles, and cousins died during the war. If the gas chambers didn’t cause it, starvation and disease did.
“It was the largest mass murder in the history of mankind,” he said.
He says after being liberated, he was able to reunite with his father in Prague, but the communist takeover pushed them out and forced them to run to England before eventually immigrating to the United States.
“Very few of us return back to our homes after the war,” he said.
Knowing the odds of survival were stacked against him, he hasn’t taken a moment for granted.