The Shawnee News-Star
  • Holocaust survivor Max Glauben shares his story with Tecumseh students

  • Max Glauben’s life may most fittingly be described as phases of light and dark. He was the son of Jewish middle class parents in Poland before Germany invaded it in 1939.

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  • Max Glauben’s life may most fittingly be described as phases of light and dark. He was the son of Jewish middle class parents in Poland before Germany invaded it in 1939.
    “All you know is light and dark, light and dark,” Glauben said. “If you asked me how long were you in one camp and the other one, I would be lying.”
    Glauben, a Holocaust survivor and lecturer, spoke to students at Tecumseh Middle School Wednesday, which also happened to be the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Glauben spoke frankly to the students, telling his story and answering questions afterward with straightforward answers. He also visited individual classes to answer more questions from students after the assembly and lecture.
    When Glauben speaks with an accent that is still thick, he gestures with hands softened with age. Born in 1928, he was 11 years old and living in Poland when Germany invaded in 1939 and upended his life.
    He lived in the Warsaw Ghetto. He saw the ghetto’s uprising and its decimation by napalm before he was and placed in five different concentration camps and endured the “Death March to Dachau.” His parents and little brother did not survive the Holocaust.
    “My children don’t have any grandparents ... my children are being deprived because they are mistreated,” Glauben said. “It’s a comparison, when you become orphaned, and you don’t have some of these things, you sometimes don’t know what you’re missing.”
    A defiant 14-year-old Glauben survived through the Warsaw Ghetto by hiding in basements. He also survived medical experiments and manual labor in the concentration camps when he was the same age as many in his audience. During his talk, he spoke about the similarities between the youth he addressed at the school and the youth of the Warsaw Ghetto.
    The youth of the ghetto eventually became the force that helped his people persist through tragedy and cruelty, he said. The youth today has the power to prevent future atrocities and shape the future.
    “The youth became the backbone of the ghetto. Any imaginable disease known to mankind was in the Warsaw Ghetto because of the lack of food and water that we drank out of the river. Eighty percent of the food that was eaten in the ghetto in 1942 ... was brought in by the youth,” he said. “Today’s generation is a much civil generation than our previous ones. They are the future leaders of our country and I’m sure they would prevent another holocaust like that from happening.”
    Freed by the army when he was 15 years old, Glauben ended up in Nuremburg, Germany. He stayed with the army, learning English and working as a mess sergeant serving Polish guards and German prisoners of war. After the U.S. Orphan Act in 1947 he was granted passage to the United States.
    Page 2 of 2 - He was drafted into the Army in 1951. He served four years in the service plus five years in the reserves, and ended up at Ft. Hood in Texas. He has lived in the Dallas area since then.
    After coming to the U.S. Glauben helped start Synagogues and is a lifelong director of the Dallas Holocaust Museum.
    Glauben still has nightmares about his time under Nazi control. Images with similarities to the Warsaw Ghetto and his life in the concentration camps will subconsciously jog his memory and manifest as a nightmare at night.
    “Certain things are comparable to what happened there like, for instance, [Hurricane Katrina] and other disasters, or a tornado,” Glauben said. “When I look at a house that has been torn up... then it comes back. Then, I go to bed, and I scream.”
    Glauben is married and has three children and seven grandchildren. Glauben sounded a lot like the grandfather that he is, telling the students they shouldn’t get tattoos or any other body modifications because the body is a temple built from the image of God.
    “The reaction I get when I return from the students, we don’t shake hands we hug each other because I become like a grandfather, and they sometimes feel my pain,” Glauben said. “The true striving of peace and love toward each other is very much alive.”

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