Holocaust survivor Lowenberg speaks about faith, peace, hate
Martin Lowenberg, a Holocaust survivor, shared his personal experiences from World War II, and emphasized the importance of ridding the world of hate to bring peace on Wednesday in Plachta Auditorium.
“Why must we hate? Why must we see other people as being different?” said Lowenberg. “Are we so different? No, we are not.”
Lowenberg had experienced hate and torture first-hand during World War II. When Nazis took over his home, he was forced into a ghetto in Latvia for several years, before being transferred to multiple concentration camps.
Nazis made him work long days and gave him hardly any food. He was forced to participate in a “death march,” with no break for four days and nights straight.
“I know what torture is because I have been tortured, tortured as a young boy, tortured as a young fellow, tortured for four years in a concentration camp,” Lowenberg said.
However, for him, torture began long before the war.
In 1936, Lowenberg’s grade school teacher accused him of sticking out his tongue at Hitler’s picture. The teacher told all the boys in class to beat him up, and forced him to sit on a board covered in thumb tacks.
He said this happened because he was Jewish.
After that, Lowenberg said he was sent away to a boarding school where he saw his family once in two years.
He was sent home right before the night of Kristallnacht, on Nov. 8, 1938. Lowenberg said he can still see the synagogues burning in his mind.
When the war hit, his family, which comprised of his mom, dad, two older sisters and younger twin brothers, was separated. One of Lowenberg’s sisters immigrated to the U.S. with a family she was a nanny for.
He believes his parents would have died in the same village he was born in, if it had not been for the war. Instead, their ashes lay scattered throughout Auschwitz, along with his twin brothers.
Brighton sophomore Audrey Hiselman said hearing Lowenberg's twin brothers died at age six was hard.
“They didn’t live to grow up, have another birthday, have another photo taken… To see your entire world just collapse before your eyes and have everything change so drastically, I can’t imagine it,” Hiselman said.
Today, Lowenberg and his two older sisters live in the U.S. After moving to America, he got married and had three daughters. Today, he has eleven great-grandchildren.
Throughout his life, and especially when he was stuck in concentration camps, Lowenberg’s faith in God remained strong. He believes we all have the same God, and questions why people hate based on the premise of religion.
“Why? Why can’t we live in peace?” Lowenberg said. “Why can’t we live in harmony?”
Lowenberg said the number-one part of bringing peace to the world is having faith. Second, people must reach out to those in need, those who are sick, and those who are hurting. Then, one day they might find peace and eliminate hate.