Holocaust survivor shares story

On Jan. 30, 1933, Martin Lowenberg’s life changed forever as Nazis marched along the streets of Schenklengsfeld, Germany, in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany.

On Wednesday, April 22, Holocaust survivor Lowenberg spoke to an audience of more than 700 people about his experiences in five different concentration camps.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Alissa Rhode

Southfield resident and Holocaust survivor Martin Lowenberg spoke to an audience of more than 700 people on Wednesday, April 22, in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms, drawing from his experiences in ghettos and concentration camps in Nazi Germany. He shares his story each week at the Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills and has returned to Germany four times in the last six years to speak with students there.

The event was hosted by the Jewish student organization Hillel, Student Life and the offices of Student Affairs and the President.

After an introduction by Hillel president and criminal justice senior Mimi Marcus, Lowenberg silently took the stage to a standing ovation.

“I’m not used to this,” he said. “I’m speechless, believe it or not. What a wonderful turnout we have for this evening. I’m sure you won’t regret coming.”

Lowenberg was born in 1928 – five years before Adolf Hitler rose to power.

He was 15 when he was eventually separated from his family in Kaiserwald, a German concentration camp in Riga, Latvia.

“My captivity ended when I was 17 years old, after 12 years of suffering, torture and abuse,” Lowenberg said. “I thank God I never made it to Auschwitz, where one million people alone were gassed and burned.”

To convey the true terror he and others experienced during the Holocaust, Lowenberg analyzed what the word ‘holocaust’ actually meant.

“It means ‘total burning,’” he said. “Never in the history of mankind has there been an event so large and so unbelievable for six million Jewish people who were killed, among them 1.5 million beautiful children.”

Lowenberg’s words resonated heavily with the crowd, especially Marcus.

“It has been my dream since freshman year to bring a survivor to SVSU’s campus to help educate the Saginaw community about Judaism and the experiences these survivors had,” she said.

As Marcus had expected about 300 people to attend the event, she was elated about the actual turnout.

“We had to keep adding chairs,” she said. “I was blown away at the amount of support our community gave us and the respect every attendee gave Martin while he was sharing his story.”

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