Holocaust survivor urges peace, hopes youth learn from past
By Kara Patterson
Post-Crescent staff writer
GRAND CHUTE — In a Europe driven mad by war, Holocaust survivor Henry Golde was the innocent target of many hateful words and deeds.
For five years in adolescence Golde, 75, endured the terrors of nine different Nazi-run concentration camps during World War II.
But he’s chosen to share with everyone — especially young people — the message that love is stronger.
“When you hate, you actually hurt yourself more,” said Golde, a native of Poland and resident of Appleton, kicking off Fox Valley Technical College’s 2004-05 lecture series Thursday.
“Why don’t you hate ‘hate’ itself? Hate is nothing, and love is everything,” said Golde, whose message resonated with international student Kathi Tsang of Bielefeld, Germany, whose host family lives in Neenah.
In World War II’s notorious prisons of Poland, Germany and Czechoslovakia — among them Buchenwald and Theresienstadt — Golde dodged death countless times through a combination of luck, quick thinking and the unpredictable whims of German overseers.
Golde said he witnessed horrors that made him an adult at 11, and five years later an old man.
He watched German officers loose their dogs on living prisoners. The dogs ripped the people apart, he said.
To elude capture one day, Golde lay prone atop a pile of dead bodies. He fought nausea and fear, telling himself they were “rag dolls” but still painfully aware they once had names and families.
The war was over for Golde when Russian troops liberated Theresienstadt.
But the world’s struggle for land, power, greed and recognition also outlived the war, Golde said, and he fears another holocaust can happen at any time, in any place, to anyone.
Kara Patterson can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 215, or by e-mail at kpatterson@ postcrescent.com
Webmaster note:A few days later at another speaking engagement (see http://www.ironwooddailyglobe.com/1020holo.htm), Golde is said to have survived ten concentration camps, and to have lain atop the pile of dead bodies for “several days.” His story appears to be getting better with each retelling.