Holocaust Survivor Menachem Warshawski Speaks With Students and Faculty

As a continued observance of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Prep School welcomed Menachem Warshawski, Holocaust survivor and father of PS English teacher David Warshawski. Mr. Warshawski, who is currently based in Delray Beach, Florida, was joined by a large group of students and faculty over Zoom to listen to his story of growing up in Poland and his deportation to Auschwitz at the age of fourteen. 

Mr. Warshawski explained that he was born in Łódź, Poland's third-largest city and a former industrial center for textile production. His family had an established reputation within the large Jewish community for generosity and altruism: "If there were extra people who needed shelter, we always had a bed. . . . My family had been in Poland for hundreds of years, since the time of the Spanish Inquisition."

When he was nine years old, the Germans entered Łódź eight days after declaring war on Poland. Mr. Warshawski described how the Jews of his village were forced into a small ghetto and soon relocated to the Łódź Ghetto, the second-largest ghetto in all of German-occupied Europe. "They calculated our rations so that the population of the Ghetto would die of starvation," remembered Mr. Warshawski. During the Ghetto's liquidation, Mr. Warshawski was forcibly separated from his surviving family and sent to Auschwitz. 

"Auschwitz was a city built by slave labor. . . . with one industry: mass murder," said Mr. Warshawski. He recounted his experience witnessing unfathomable atrocities and dehumanization while working in a labor camp. Due to the compassion and help of his fellow prisoners, Mr. Warshawski managed to survive a severe injury and was eventually liberated in 1945. 

He concluded his talk by explaining that what helped him survive was hope for the future. "I didn't come here to entertain you, and you didn't come here to be entertained," said Mr. Warshawski to the audience. "I came here because I respect you, and one day you young people will be the leaders of this country. I hope that hearing my experience will help you." 

Thank you, Mr. Warshawski, for joining us and sharing your story. 

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