Students at Penn State Harrisburg had a unique opportunity to meet history. An 83-year-old holocaust survivor shared the story of her family’s harrowing escape from the Nazis.
For a long time, Linda Schwab didn’t want to share her story, but now she wants new generations of young people to never forget the atrocities she faced.
“When I first came to the United States, I said, ‘Mom, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. This is a bad dream and I want to have friends. I want to be American.’” Schwab said.
Schwab was born in Vilna, Poland, now Belarus, in December 1935. Her home was invaded by the Germans and her family was forced into a ghetto. At one point, her father took the family deep into the woods.
“We dug a huge trench, my father, and this man Alexander who helped to save our family,” Schwab said.
They stayed there underground for 18 months.
“No food, summer and winter, full of lice, no schooling,” Schwab said.
She shared her story with a packed auditorium Tuesday. She told students how her family survived and were finally freed.
“It’s one thing to hear a lot of numbers because it’s like, you know, so many people at this camp, but then it’s a whole nother thing to just think each person had a story,” said Astin Stehman, a student.
Schwab says with so much hatred in the world, not only toward Jews, it’s important to educate people about the Holocaust. The big question is could it happen again?
“It could. And now, every year, it gets to be worse and worse,” Schwab said. “And it could happen unless we do something about it.”
She hopes that by talking with students, the younger generation will be more tolerant, more accepting and most importantly, never forget.
“Every one of you that is here and is listening to me will be my ambassadors and you will say ‘Yes this did happen. I met Mrs. Schwab.'”