Holocaust survivor Max Glauben shared his life story with a small audience at the Texas Tech School of Law’s Allison Court Room on Sunday morning.
Glauben said while his story is a sad one, sharing it with the rest of the world has brought him great satisfaction.
“My story can bring tears to your eyes, so you may need a handkerchief or a Kleenex,” he said, “but don’t let it sadden you too much; a smile is good for your health and prolongs your life.”
Glauben is active in the Dallas Holocaust Museum, traveling across the United States and Europe to share his story with students.
“I have been all over to share my story,” he said. “Having survived what I went through, it’s like I was picked by a higher power to share my message with the rest of the world.”
Glauben was born in 1928 in Warsaw, Poland, and in 1939 he was placed in the Warsaw Ghetto.
“I was 10 years old when war broke out in Poland in 1939,” he said. “I can remember hearing on the radio ‘Attention everyone, Germany has just invaded Poland.’ Bombs began to fall, and in a flash 85 percent of Warsaw was destroyed.”
The way the Holocaust is depicted through education does not do justice to how truthfully terrible it was, Glauben said.
“Germans would stage certain things for photos to show everyone else that life wasn’t as bad as it was thought to be for the Jews,” he said. “If you go to Auschwitz today it looks like a Museum. It cannot accurately depict what life was really like for us.”
Life in the concentration camps was almost unbearable, Glauben said, and only the thought of freedom kept many prisoners living.
“The first victims at the camps were youngsters and the elderly,” he said. “The front buildings were crematoriums, and the next had showers where gas was dropped in from the air vents. They would watch people die from the outside through large glass windows.”
With the large amount of bodies being burned, Glauben said the Germans ran out of space to put the leftover remains.
“Children would be playing in the leftover ash from all the burned bodies,” he said. “Eventually the people of Poland built a large round dome to hold the excess human remains. Seven tons of human ash and pieces of bone were placed in this dome.”
The magnitude and cruelty associated with the Holocaust makes it a story that must be told, Glauben said.
“I deliver my message on behalf of the six million Jewish people and the (1.5 million) children that were murdered in the Holocaust,” he said. “If we can educate people and show them what we are capable of doing to each other, then hopefully we can prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
Chelsea Montgomery, a second year law student from Corpus Christi, said Glauben’s speech was powerful and moving.
“I wasn’t expecting to hear so many things that I didn’t already know about the Holocaust,” she said. “The fact that humans can do such a cruel thing to each other really shocks me.”
Joseph Miller, a junior international relations major from Fort Worth, said hearing a firsthand account of the Holocaust from a survivor was an opportunity that could not be missed.
“The fact that he is one of the few survivors and decided to share his story with the rest of the world is really awesome,” he said. “The description and detail of his story is something you can’t get from a book; it was really moving.”