marion holocaustsurvivorOWENSBORO, Ky. (11/11/13) - Last week, I realized the true meaning of freedom when I had the privilege of listening to Holocaust survivor and author Marion Blumenthal Lazan speak at Daviess County High School.

She told the heartwarming story of her family’s brave survival through a torturous three years in Nazi captivity. Marion’s family spent many nights in the “bitter cold” German winter with up to 600 people in heatless barracks surrounded by 12-foot high barbed-wire fences. Escape was “next to impossible“. Conditions were harsh and the prisoners never knew when they would become one of many to be thrown into the gas chambers.

In 1948, Marion and her family were released from captivity when the Russian Army descended on the Nazi transporter they were traveling on along with several thousand others. Marion and her family safely traveled from Holland to the United States that year.

“It was a wonderful, exciting feeling to be free at long last,” said Marion.

Six million Jewish people were brutally murdered during the Holocaust. They were set apart because of their heritage and beliefs. The United States Army became an integral part of eliminating these camps in Europe that were brought about because of discrimination. Marion spoke to the hundreds of high school students and teachers at Daviess County, about the effects of discriminatory action. The freedom of choices that Americans have to believe, say, and love the way they want to, is what makes America free, she explained.

The first sight that Marion was greeted by when she got arrived in New York City for the first time was the Statue of Liberty. The ultimate “symbol of freedom”, she said.

This Veteran’s Day, remember that as an American, you are completely free because of what service men and women did for you now and then. You are free to live the life you want to live and should not have to worry about the effects of discrimination.

Marion spoke about building bridges within our people.

“Respect and love must begin in our homes,” Marion said.

After hearing Marion’s story, I realized that not everyone can believe and say what they want, but in America you can. And, to me, that is the ultimate freedom.

Taylor Riley
SurfKY News
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