VIDEO: 87-year-old survivor relives holocaust memories to educate future generations

By Mathias Meier

Magda Brown travels trough the entire country to tell her tragic story as a holocaust survivor. With clockwork precision she remembers every detail and relives it with shocking accuracy. And even though she says it hurts her deeply, she does it to rest assure that future generations won’t repeat past mistakes.

“Genocide doesn’t happen suddenly. It builds gradually and we need to learn from our own mistakes,” says Brown. “With my testimony I hope I can bring a face – something human – to anyone who listens to me, so they can see and learn.”

Brown lost 64 of her relatives, including both her parents, during the Holocaust. When she was 18 years old she was rescued after having survived a stay in one of the Nazi’s most horrendous concentration camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“Many times students ask me about how I managed to cope with losing my parents and the answer is ‘I don’t manage.’ To this day I miss them. I missed them when I married, I missed them when I had children of my own, I miss them today,” she says with watery eyes. But Magda Brown does’t cry. “How can I stand in front of an audience, tell my story and cry? No one would listen to me.”

Six years ago Brown and her family started to jot down how many people came to each of her lectures. It averaged between six and eight thousand people every year.

By the end of 2015 Magda Brown will have spoken to over 40,000 people nationwide.

Photo at top: Magda Brown, 87, drives to the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie to give a lecture to a group of high school students from Omaha, Nebraska. (Mathias Meier/Medill)


In Chicago, watch Medill Reports video stories on CAN-TV channel 27

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