Magdalena Mozes Herzberger has been on a mission ever since a British soldier picked her up from among the dead at the Bergen-Gelsen concentration camp in northwest Germany in April 1945. The soldier cried as he carried her, and she looked over the numerous dead as they passed.
“I made myself a strong commitment then,” Herzberger recalled as she spoke to a group of more than 150 students at Chaparral Elementary School. “I am never going to forget them, for as long as I am alive and I have a second chance, I am never going to let them be forgotten.”
Herzberger has told and re-told her story – and story of many who died in the Holocaust – through her speeches, books, poetry, and music in the hopes that she can ensure that the Holocaust “never happens again,” she said.
Herzberger, who turns 87 this year and lives in Fountain Hills, had grown up in Cluj, Romania - an area which the Germans took over in March 1944 when she was 18. Her family, the Mozeses,were forced to live in a ghetto, and within a month, they were deported to Auschwitz, one of the most notorious extermination camps. There, she was separated from her family, and most of them were killed. She and several other prisoners were soon after sent to clean up damage in Bremen, Germany, and later she was taken to the Bergen-Gelsen where she was assigned the task of moving corpses. She nearly died, saved only by the British liberation
An oral history interview that Herzberger gave to an archivist in Wisconsin details her entire life story, including her other encounters with tragedy at this web page http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/HolocaustSurvivors/pdfs/Herzberger.pdf
Teachers and administrators said it is important for students to hear Herzberger and other Holocaust survivors give their first-hand accounts as the students are studying that period of world history.