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Abram Piasek, a Holocaust survivor shares his story of prison camps surviving through cruel and harsh conditions in the base theater on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, April 14. The Naval Hospital Diversity Committee hosted the event to pay respects and remember the many victims of the Holocaust.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sean Berry

Holocaust survivor recounts his experiences

14 Apr 2016 | Lance Cpl. Sean Berry Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

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 here."

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 installation.

"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."