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Holocaust survivor Max Eisen shares his story with Ivey students

  • Jennifer Brodie
  • |
  • Jan 29, 2019
Holocaust survivor Max Eisen shares his story with Ivey students

Photo by Jennifer Brodie

Jennifer Brodie is an Ivey HBA1 student. She planned and attended Holocaust survivor Max Eisen’s talk at Ivey, in support of International Holocaust Memorial Day, and blogged about the experience.

Max Eisen’s message

“It starts with words…”

That’s how Eisen began his talk at Ivey. Hate speech and propaganda were the Nazis’ strongest weapon, he explained.

Born in 1929 in Moldava, Czechoslovakia, Eisen was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau at the age of 15. While his family perished, Eisen survived slave labour at Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as other camps, and the 13-day death march from Auschwitz to Mauthausen.

As the last generation able to hear from a Holocaust survivor firsthand, we must ensure these stories live on. Although we vow “Never Again,” anti-Semitism is still showing itself throughout the world today. An example of this was seen in October, when 11 people were murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. And here at home, the 2017 Statistics Canada census revealed that hate crimes towards Jewish people in Canada rose 63 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016.

Something needs to change.

Eisen encouraged us all to never be bystanders, and to always stand up for what is right. We must work together to prevent discrimination of any kind and make for a better world.

The impact: Student testimonial

Fellow HBA1 student Jess Orchin attended the event and said she’ll forever keep the experience close to her heart.

“The first time I learned about the Holocaust was in high school. It's always seemed so unbelievable and far removed from my reality,” she said. “Having the opportunity to hear a first-hand account brought the horrors of it to my reality, which is so incredibly valuable. Hearing Max speak is something that I will tell my children about. I will carry his chilling accounts with me as I make choices in my own life about hate and peace.

“Most people think the terrors of the Holocaust will never happen again, but unless we as a society actively choose to remember, we will not be able to prevent history from repeating itself.”