First-hand Accounts from Holocaust Survivors

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SCRANTON, Pa. -- This week, hundreds of high school students will hear first-hand accounts from Holocaust survivors.

The annual Teen Holocaust Symposium put on by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania may very well be one of the largest gatherings of Holocaust survivors in the country.

At the Hilton in Scranton this week, you'll find a collection of first-hand history that's hard to find anywhere else.

It's a club Gabriella Major admits she never felt she deserved to be in: Holocaust survivors.

But Major started telling her story because she saw older survivors dying off.

"That's why I started speaking. That is exactly why I started speaking a few years ago," she said.

Major, a native Hungarian, will tell hundreds of high school students her story this week. She was just a toddler when she and her mother were put on a train headed for Auschwitz.

"Some miracle, though it's hard for me to say because 28 people from my family were killed, so it's hard for me to say that we had this miracle where our train was diverted and we were taken to near Vienna, in Austria," Major said.

She and her mother were eventually able to make it back to Hungary and were reunited with her father.

The symposium hosts 14 Holocaust survivors this year, but organizers say every year that number shrinks. Two regular speakers passed away this year, so organizers are already starting to think about how this program will have to change.

"The survivors are all getting older. I'm getting older, too, and I have to get the message out," Major added.

Major said the stories are more impactful when they come from the people who lived them.

"Every one of these kids, and everyone that I speak to, I tell them that they have to stand up for themselves. They can't just be silent because during the war, people were silent. Our country was silent, allowed this to happen," she said.


  • Rusty Knyffe

    God bless these people for sharing their experiences. Sadly, it all began with censoring speech and Ms. Major is so right: speak up and speak truth. The terrible thing about this event is that too many people under the age of 55 are simply disconnected with this dreadful history.

  • Fredric Underhill

    The message is out. When you let the government run wrong shod, you’re going to get burned.

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