CORONADO, Calif. - Military and civilian personnel on the staff of Commander, Assault Craft Unit One (ACU-1) gathered together to remember the Holocaust with a special ceremony, April 29.
The ceremony was sponsored by the ACU-1 Diversity Committee and included remarks by Holocaust survivors Rose and Max Schindler.
Rose Schindler was born in 1929 in the former Czechoslovakia as an Orthodox Jew. She told the group that she grew up on a farm in a town of 2,000 residents with no electricity or plumbing. Her husband Max was of Polish decent, but was born into an upper middle class family in Germany.
Rose said World War II first touched her family in 1938 when the Hungarian military occupied her town, and then again in 1944 when her family was forced to board trains for the concentration camps.
“I remember hearing screams from men, women, and children upon seeing that they were arriving at Auschwitz,” said Rose.
By lying about her age upon arrival, Rose said was able to join the slave labor line with her two sisters. Rose said her mother and three younger siblings were deemed unfit for labor and were killed that day. She said her father and brother were soon shipped off to a labor factory.
“’Stay alive so you can tell the world what they are doing to us’ were the last words I heard from my father,” said Rose.
Max Schindler said was stopped by the Gestapo in 1940 at the age of nine; his Jewish family was forced to leave Germany and deported to Poland.
“I spent four years working at a slave labor factory before being shipped to the Dresden concentration camp in 1944,” said Max.
He said he stayed there until 1945 when he and 300 others were forced into the Death March to Czechoslovakia where only 90 of the 300 prisoners survived.
After the war, Rose and Max said they met through a rehabilitation program for orphans funded by a philanthropist in England. They first met in Prague and later moved to England and then on to the United States where they have resided with their many children and grandchildren. They will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this July.
Approximately six million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust, bringing the European Jewish population down by two-thirds.
The U.S. Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. The Week of Remembrance runs from the Sunday before Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) through the following Sunday.