Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story at Wilson College

Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story at Wilson College

Charles Middleberg was only 9-years-old when the Nazis invaded Paris, France, where he lived with his parents and his younger brother.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A holocaust survivor shared his story of escape and survival at Wilson college Thursday.

Charles Middleberg told the audience he is not just a survivor, he is a witness. He is on a mission to share his first-hand account of the Holocaust.

"I am a witness,” said Middleberg. “I was there. It happened to me, it happened to my brother, my father, my mother, my entire family."

Middleberg was only 9-years-old when the Nazis invaded Paris, France, where he lived with his parents and his younger brother.

"We saw our neighbors, friends, family, little by little disappearing,” said Middleberg. “I was really very, very scared."

His dad vanished. They would later learn he was taken to a concentration camp in Auschwitz. He, his mother, and brother were left in France, struggling to survive, even sometimes hiding in the attic when Nazi soldiers came around.

Charles and his brother Victor eventually went to a safer place in the countryside. Their mother Berthe sent them off on a train. That was the last time they ever saw her.

"We cried during the whole ride,” said Middleberg.

Records show Berthe was captured by the Nazis and taken to Poland on a train with 1,000 other Jewish prisoners. They were sent straight to the gas chamber. Fortunately, Middleberg’s father met a different fate. They were reunited after four and a half years.

"I saw I saw my dad on the sidewalk across the street,” said Middleberg, who was 12 when he was reunited with his father. “We never said a word. We just got into each other’s arms and hugged."

Charles says his calling now is to tell his story of survival and hope that people will learn from it.

"The worst word in any language is hate,” said Middleberg.

Although Charles lost all but three family members—his father, his brother, and his father’s cousin—during the Holocaust, he says he is confident their memory will stay alive through the generations.

"They were never really lost because we carry their memory on with everything,” said Middleberg’s granddaughter Jessica Middleberg, who is a senior at Wilson College.

Charles currently lives in New Jersey and has four children and 11 grandchildren.

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