OTSELIC – Otselic Valley and DeRuyter students were given an eye-opening firsthand account of the Holocaust from a survivor who shared her story at a presentation hosted by the OV School District on Monday.
From age four to age ten, Marion Blumenthal Lazan was prisoner in concentration camps that were scattered across Nazi ruled parts of Europe. After Hitler’s rise to power, she and her family – father, mother, and brother, Albert – escaped Nazi Germany to Holland, which was taken control by the Nazis shortly after, and the Blumenthals were forced into refugee, transit and prison camps including Westerbork in Holland and the Bergen-Belsen in Germany.
Lazan’s recollection of Bergen-Belsen is similar to that of an overcrowded high security prison, with electrified fences, armed guards, watchtowers, dogs, and spotlights.
“Six hundred of us were crammed into the wooden heatless barracks that were made for 100 when they were originally built,” she said. “German winters were bitter cold ... I remember the first time seeing a wagon filled with what I thought was firewood for the one small oven that we had in our barracks ... I soon realized that what was in the wagon were dead, naked bodies thrown one on top of the other.”