Holocaust Survivor Speaks to Sophomores

 

By: Ellie Natoli, Emily Wehrli, Bella Gallo, Lauren Gwilliam

 

On Wednesday, April 11, Holocaust survivor David Tuck visited PVHS where he spoke to the sophomore class about his experience from his time in the ghettos and concentration camps.

At the young age of 10, Tuck started his gruesome four and a half year  journey through the horrors of the Holocaust.

His presentation began with historian Geoffrey Quin, who gave a short introduction on the history behind the Holocaust. Quin showed actual photos of the labor camps and ghettos Mr. Tuck had to survive as a child.

After which, Tuck told his story, beginning with when he was taken from his home in Poland to the Lodz ghetto as a 10 year old boy. There, he used his skill in the German language to work in the food rationing office.  After his time in the brutal conditions of the crowded ghetto, he was moved to Posen, a Polish labor camp.

Tuck then began to describe his experience when he first arrived at the camp. “The man at the gate asked me how old I was, I told him I was 10 years old. He then said to me “From now on you’re fifteen.” Now that he was thought to be fifteen, he was able to join the workforce which greatly increased his odds at survival.

After spending roughly two brutal years in Posen, the Nazis liquidated the camp and Mr. Tuck was sent to a sub-camp of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp called Eintrachthütte.

Mr. Tuck told the students about enduring some of the most heinous conditions imaginable. After Tuck and the other prisoners were forced to sleep in overcrowded barracks with no pillows or places to relieve themselves, his only meal of the day consisted of a slice of bread and some coffee. His days were filled with brutal work in which he was tasked with building anti-aircraft guns.  Finally, Tuck was forced to make a merciless four day, 370 mile trip to Güsen II, an underground factory used to make aircraft.

On May 5, 1945 the factory was liberated by the United States.  On the day of his rescue, Tuck weighed just 78 pounds after being starved and overworked over the past four years.  Before immigrating to the United States in 1950, he spent several months after his rescue in a camp for refugees while he recovered.  Tuck went on to live a successful life in the United States with his wife and children.

After telling his story, Mr. Tuck strongly encouraged students to ask questions, and with each one came an inspiring reply. “I just wanted to live.”

As students began asking questions, they were enlightened by a new outlook on life as Tuck stressed the importance of just walking away from those who are disrespectful and letting it just roll of their backs.

Tuck’s faith remained strong through the Holocaust. “It was not God who was killing people, it was people who were killing people.”  Tuck still practices his Jewish faith.

 

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