WCMS students had a rare opportunity to hear Holocaust Survivor, Hershel Greenblat speak about his experiences during the Holocaust. He shared his poignant story and his message for the students was: "Don't hate. Don't be a bully...My family was murdered because of hatred. Grow up. Get an education. Respect your parents. Respect your teachers...Do what you can to make the world a better place. Don't hate."
View photo gallery here: http://www.worthschools.net/2/Gallery/586
Hershel Greenblat was born in Ukraine in 1941. The German invasion of the Soviet Union had already begun and Hershel’s parents moved frequently to avoid capture. The first two years of Hershel’s life were spent
hiding in a cave. Hershel’s parents and their fellow refugees in hiding depended on food scavenged from nearby farms. Harsh winter temperatures made conditions in the cave barely survivable. As a result, Hershel contracted diphtheria and tetanus but somehow survived without medicine.
Hershel’s early memories are that of being carried by his father through areas of destruction. While still in Ukraine, his mother gave birth to a second child. At the war’s end, Hershel, his parents, and his sister were transported from Russia to American-controlled Salzburg, Austria. After the war, several hundred thousand survivors remained in Europe in camps for displaced persons established by the Allies. The majority of the refugees no longer had homes to which they could return. Others wanted to leave Europe and the painful memories of the war and the Holocaust behind them. They hoped to create new lives elsewhere. Many remained in the Displaced Person Camps until they had destinations and permission to emigrate.
Hershel and his family lived in these camps in Austria for five years until they received permission to come to the United States. They arrived on the U.S.S. General Ballou. Hershel remembers his father pointing out the Statue of Liberty as they pulled into New York Harbor. The family came directly to Atlanta with only $80 in their pockets. The Atlanta Jewish www.holocaust.georgia.gov community helped them begin a new life. Hershel’s father ran a grocery store in downtown Atlanta for many years.
Hershel and his wife have two sons and four grandchildren.
WCMS thanks Mrs. Beth Everett for making this special event happen.