Holocaust Survivor Spreads Message of Tolerance

Holocaust survivor, Charles Middleberg, visited campus on Thursday, April 17th. He tours schools as a member of a group that is dedicated to sharing their experiences of the Holocaust with students.

Mr. Middleberg with Wilson student Johanna Romain
Mr. Middleberg with Wilson student Johanna Romain

“Tolerance is what I’m teaching; we are all part of the human race,” said middleberg.

He gave a moving and vivid account of his boyhood during World War II.

Born in Paris, Mr. Middleberg and his family were living there when the Nazi occupation started in 1939.   As a result of the persecution of Jewish people, he was separated from his parents when they were taken by the Nazis.

Mr. Middleberg, along with his younger brother, survived the next few years with the help of his French neighbors.  Concealing his Jewish heritage, Mr. Middleberg was taken in by a family and baptized as a Catholic.

Giving credit to the people who risked their lives for him, he states, “I owe eternal gratitude to the righteous people, who saved me and my brother.”

A year after Paris was liberated, Mr. Middleberg and his brother were reunited with their father.  Unfortunately, his mother had died in Auschwitz II- in Birkenau.  The only other survivor in his family was his father’s cousin. Mr. Middleberg expresses the hurt he feels as a result of Holocaust deniers and says that this is one of the reasons that he tours as a speaker.

“How can someone deny what has happened to me…to my mother?” said Mr. Middleberg, as he became emotional.

“Hate is the worst word in any language because hate only brings harm. Please don’t let yourself get talked into any form of hatred,” advises Middleberg, while quoting his deceased wife, whom he shared a long, happy marriage after the Holocaust.

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