Special Interview Auschwitz Survivor Organizing a National Holocaust Survivors Group

“We are the witnesses, and in another 30 years there will not be any witnesses left,” Lee Breuer, a survivor of Auschwitz who now lives in the Washington area stresses.

That is why, she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, she is devoting all of her time to organizing the National Organization of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, U.S.A., and then eventually hopes to expand the national group into an international organization.

Ms. Breuer said up to now there have only been local organizations of survivors, such as Club Shalom to which she belongs in the Washington area but no nationally unified structure. She has been travelling across the country to get these local groups to become members of a national organization.

It is necessary for Holocaust survivors to speak with “a unified voice” with the revival of racism, anti-Semitism and facism throughout the world and because of the individuals and groups that have been denying the Holocaust existed, such as the infamous Institute for Historical Review in California, Ms. Breuer stresses.

“The pre-Holocaust history is repeating itself,” Ms. Breuer said. “We must have a united voice to respond to those who challenge us with the slander that the Holocaust never existed.”

She said that “through our united voice, we will prove to them and to others that the Holocaust existed and that we witnesses are survivors of it. We are going to dedicate ourselves to learn from history, for if we do not learn from history, it has a way of repeating itself–with vengeance.”

TYPIFIES EXPERIENCE OF JEWS IN THE HOLOCAUST

The Hungarian-born Ms. Breuer, through her own experiences and that of her family, almost typifies the experiences of Jews in the Holocaust. Both her parents died at Auschwitz. Her two sisters, twins, died after being used for the experiments of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele.

Her brother, Eliezer Feig, survived Auschwitz, Dachau and Buchenwald and then went to Israel to join the Haganah and fight for Israel’s Independence. She said he told her at the time that he must fight for the Jewish people and prove that Hitler had not destroyed them, but that they would have their own homeland. He was killed in 1948.

Ms. Breuer’s two daughters are both members of Second Generation organizations and one of them lives in Israel.

Ms. Breuer was a member of the executive committee of the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors which was held in Jerusalem in June. She said that she met with Israel’s President Yitzhak Navon at the time who offered her encouragement and support for the new organization and approved her proposal that it be eventually expanded into an international group. She said she also received encouragement from representatives of survivor groups who she met while in Israel.

The response to her proposal so far from survivors groups in the U.S. has been “overwhelming,” Ms. Breuer said. Reps. Tom Lantos (D. Calif.) and Sam Gejdenson (D. Conn.) have agreed to serve as honorary chairmen. The Hungarian-born Lantos is the first Holocaust survivor to be elected to Congress and Gejdenson is the first child of a survivor to be elected.

Survivors wishing information can write to: National Organization of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, USA; P.O. Box 31357, Temple Hill, Maryland 20748.

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