MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
At 12 years old, Abram Piasek was torn from
his family, home and friends and was taken to a labor camp in Poland in 1940
during Adolf Hitler’s reign in Germany.
Separated from all he knew, he had to
endure the hardships of the Holocaust alone; survival wasn’t easy.
"I don’t speak for anybody else’s experiences, I can only speak on what
happened to myself," said Piasek, holocaust survivor and public speaker.
"The phrase that gets used a lot is ‘live and let live’ and at that time
there was no such thing."
The Naval Hospital Diversity Committee hosted a Holocaust remembrance event in
memory of the many victims of the tragic event at the base theater on Marine
Corps Base Camp Lejeune, April 14.
"When I first heard his story I was heartbroken," said Petty Officer
3rd Class Rachel Morse, member of the Naval Hospital’s Diversity Committee.
"He’s been through so much living inside of those concentration camps for
five years; it really amazes you what people can go through to still be
Over the course of those five years, Piasek was sent to Auschwitz and
Weinhausen where he endured numerous tortures and witnessed tragedy as many of
those around him died as a result of the Holocaust.
"A lot of people really don’t know what went on during the war," said
Piasek. "I don’t think they’ve ever heard a survivor’s story in person and
I think it surprised them hearing what happened."
Piasek tells his story at least once a week at schools, churches and
synagogues. This was the first time he’s shared his experience on a military
"I hope people become more humble from listening to his story," said
Morse. "We should realize that sometimes things aren’t so bad when you compare
it to what he and so many others had to go through at the time."
At the conclusion of the event, those in attendance rose to their feet and
applauded Piasek for sharing his experience with the community.
"I hope people learn to be kind to each other from what happened back
then; to not hate each other and be friendly," said Piasek. "People
had to know what happened, and I’m glad I’m still here to tell my story."