Holocaust survivor recounts experiences

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Monique Bental still remembers the ominous knock at the door of her family’s home in the small village of Marseilles, France.

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Holocaust survivor Monique Bental shared her story with those
gathered during a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony Sunday.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Holocaust survivor Monique Bental shared her story with those gathered during a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony Sunday.

On the other side of the door about 71 years ago were German soldiers with orders to retrieve the Jewish family. It would be the last time Bental would see her parents.

“I saw my father on his knees begging,” said Bental, who was 13 at the time. “I didn’t understand the language, but I could make out that the reason he was on his knees begging was for the fact that he wanted us to be left alone.”

Just two years earlier, Bental and her family were made to wear a yellow Star of David armband at all times. Her father moved the family to Marseilles, believing the family would be safe there.

But on the day the soldiers arrived, he and his wife were pried from their children. Bental, along with her younger sister and her grandmother, were spared when her father offered a trunk full of valuables to the officers.

“They took it and they left us behind,” she said.

Her parents were taken to Auschwitz, and Bental was forced to move from village to village to avoid being taken to the concentration camps.

Bental was the guest speaker at the Holocaust Memorial Day service at the Augusta Jewish Community Center on Sunday. The day, also known as Yom HaShoah, is held each year to commemorate the more than 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Dozens of people dressed in white flowed into the center Sunday night as volunteers read the names of survivors and victims of the Holocaust.

With six white candles flanking her to the left, Bental read a letter she received from her parents after they arrived at the concentration camp.

“If (the Germans) come back, please beg and don’t let them take you,” Bental read. “… Maybe when it is over, we will have the choice to see you again. Only God knows. Here, it is hell.”

Speaker Marc Gottlieb said the day remains important for people of all faiths so that younger generations may learn what evil humans can do when populations remain passive to such acts. Stories, such as those from Bental, have a particular impact on those who might not remember the atrocities experienced by the Jews, he said.

“We cannot become complacent,” Gottlieb said. “We cannot assume that it will not happen again. More importantly, we cannot think that assimilation can put an end to it. The world has not learned. We must continue to teach it.”

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avidreader
3078
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avidreader 04/28/14 - 05:31 am
3
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So Sad!

Every April I teach my students about the Holocaust. I spare no detail in the horrors of the era. The world must always remember this solemn occasion.

carcraft
25071
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carcraft 04/28/14 - 07:34 am
1
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HITLER killed 12 million.

HITLER killed 12 million. Also let us not ever forget that communists /socialists have killed around 100 million since thier rise to power in 1917,less than 100 years ago. Cambodian communist killed 6 million, Russian communist 20 million and Chinese communist 40 to 70 million! Eastern European, Vietnam, and other communist millions more.

Navy Gary
1615
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Navy Gary 04/28/14 - 02:50 pm
2
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Let's not forget

Let's not forget the 16 million native Americans that were killed by our forefathers right here in the good ol' U. S. of A. Isn't it ironic that the Jews are now are treating the Palestinians much like they themselves were treated by the Nazis? Taking their land, building walls to keep out non-Jews, MOSSAD hit squads killing innocent people that were mistaken for Nazis. Keep in mind that the Jews were "installed" in the middle east after World War II by the British. That was not their land. Todays Jews have no right to displace present day Palestinians from their land because of some ancient manuscript. It's absurd to think they do. If you want the same unrest right here in America, come up with some ancient writing that gives half of Texas to the Jews. I'd bet the farm that you would have displaced "former Texans" sharing the same hate the Palestinian people now have for the Jews.

carcraft
25071
Points
carcraft 04/28/14 - 04:30 pm
1
0
Navy Gray, most of the 16

Navy Gray, most of the 16 million were not due to intentional genocide but unintentional transmission of illness .

Navy Gary
1615
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Navy Gary 04/28/14 - 04:52 pm
1
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Carcraft....AND...

Carcraft.....AND the US Armys' use of smallpox infected blankets. Which WAS done intentionally.

carcraft
25071
Points
carcraft 04/28/14 - 09:40 pm
0
0
Navy Gray, can you document

Navy Gray, can you document your assertion? From my reading thus is controversial assertion. The British of the 16 th Century really didn't understand germ theory well enough to put in place such a plan. The people the British traded with were British allies who helped fight against the French and their Indian allies. The small pox infection of the Mandamus was caused be a sick passenger on a privately owned steam boat to the private fur trading post of Fort Clark. There was talk by a high ranking British officer to attention this but no documentation it actually occured. The US government NEVER DID IT. The discredited Ward Churchill fabricated it relating to the Mandan but this has been bebunked!

carcraft
25071
Points
carcraft 04/28/14 - 09:40 pm
0
0
Navy Gray, can you document

Navy Gray, can you document your assertion? From my reading thus is controversial assertion. The British of the 16 th Century really didn't understand germ theory well enough to put in place such a plan. The people the British traded with were British allies who helped fight against the French and their Indian allies. The small pox infection of the Mandamus was caused be a sick passenger on a privately owned steam boat to the private fur trading post of Fort Clark. There was talk by a high ranking British officer to attention this but no documentation it actually occured. The US government NEVER DID IT. The discredited Ward Churchill fabricated it relating to the Mandan but this has been bebunked!

Navy Gary
1615
Points
Navy Gary 04/28/14 - 11:24 pm
1
0
Wounded Knee...

December 29, 1890
Briefly, depending on who does the counting (and numbers are hotly contested between "official" sources and the Lakota people), between around 350 to over 500 people were shot down in a mass slaughter on that date. Most of the people were sick, starved, exhausted from being pursued by the US cavalry. They were attacked at dawn. A great number of those slain that day were elderly, very sick, or infants. Nursing mothers were shot in the back, babies were tossed into the air as targets. Corpses lay frozen in the snow for days afterwards. A mass slaughter by gunfire.

Maybe it wasn’t the worst of the Indian shootings, although some say it was. For there were many such instances. Again, by the late 1880’s the US Cavalry was employing genocidal tactics (supplying trading posts with smallpox-infected blankets, etc.) to slaughter the remaining Indians who did not want to live in those prison camps called reservations.

carcraft
25071
Points
carcraft 04/29/14 - 06:07 am
0
0
Navy Gray can you provide a

Navy Gray can you provide a source for your assertion. I could not find one documented instance of the US giving small pox contaminated blankets to the Indians. Yes we were terrible to the native Americans. Yes wounded knee was horrible, but we our government did not give small pox infected blankets to Indians..

AB1934
4
Points
AB1934 04/29/14 - 11:08 am
0
0
Marseille

The population of Marseille today exceeds 840,000. It is, in population, France's second city - hardly the "small village" of the article on the Holocaust survivor.

AB1934
4
Points
AB1934 04/29/14 - 11:12 am
0
0
Smallpox

In the matter of contaminated blankets: there is evidence that contamination in some form other than person-to-person contact was introduced to Indians during the French and Indian War. See the following.
http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/amherst/trent.html
http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/amherst/lord_jeff.html

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