Holocaust survivor speaks at Loyola forum

By Brittany Nelson

Hillel, a Jewish organization for students and faculty at Loyola University Chicago, commemorated Kristallnact  with a guest speaker, Israel Starck, who survived the Holocaust.

Kristallnact, the night of broken glass, is marked in history as the night in which the Nazi regime launched a pogrom on all European Jews. Starck, a Hungarian Jew shared his journey from Kristallnact through four concentration camps as crowd of 65 people listened.

“People like to say concentration camps were like prison. I say prison is like a spa in comparison to a concentration camp,” Starck said.

Starck, 77, relived his tale of survival through short stories and inspiring individuals he met throughout his life during the Holocaust. He lived through two of the most horrifying camps: Auschwitz and Mauthausen.

Starck was just 14 years old when the Nazi’s occupied Hungary. He was sent by train with his family and hundreds of other Jewish people to Auschwitz concentration camp.

“When we arrived I thought to myself, this is where my struggle for survival will truly begin,” he said. “You had to have the will to live in order to survive a place like this.”

During his time at Auschwitz, both his mother and father were murdered and he was separated from both of his sisters until after liberation.

Starck recalls his duration at Mathausen, the second concentration camp he lived in with a few thoughts.

“The guards there were sadists. They would hit you in the head or put a bullet in you just for the fun of it,” Starck said.

Starck saw two more concentration camps and infinitely more deaths in the time before the Allies came to liberate the prisoners in camps all across Europe. Although he survived the genocide of his people, six million others did not.

Alex Colianni, 21, a junior history major at Loyola was at a loss for words after the speaker.

“It was a truly inspirational story,” Colianni said.

Nick Potts, 20, a junior criminal justice major at Loyola agreed with Colianni.

“It was so interesting to get a personal account from the Holocaust rather than to hear the general history lesson we’ve been taught in history classes,” Potts said.

After his story was completed, Starck left the audience with one moving thought.

“You are all the future; you are the future of generations to come and the future of America. Because you are the future, do not forget the past. Do not forget.” Starck said.


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