83-year-old Holocaust survivor, Irving Roth, has something to say.
Sent(enced) to Buchenwald at age 14, Roth is one of the youngest survivors who is actually old enough to remember what happened. An eyewitness to the Holocaust, he is an internationally known educator and highly sought-after speaker.
A reporter from The Anniston Star, a local paper in Alabama, asked him if he ever encountered a Holocaust denier. He responded:
They come to my lectures and ask questions, very benignly usually. I was talking to a group of high school students in Hungary, and one of them asked, “How do you know that this actually happened? You’re not an eyewitness. After all, if you had been inside the gas chamber when they squeezed the gas, you wouldn’t be here speaking.”
I explained to him how I know in detail what happened. Because I arrived in Auschwitz with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and my cousins on a May evening, they were separated from me and they disappeared. I saw these chimneys and I saw out of the chimneys coming flames. They were herded into these buildings. They went in and no one came out. What happened? The earth didn’t swallow them.
Well, we know that hundreds of thousands of kilograms of poisonous gases were shipped to Auschwitz. What was it used for? There were people who worked inside the gas chamber who took the bodies to the crematorium, usually prisoners, and a number of them survived so we have eyewitnesses. He was not satisfied with the answer but he accepted it.
Thank God for people like Irving Roth. Cool as a cucumber in the face of ignorance and hate. I heart Irving Roth. Thinking of interviewing him for my book, Googling the Holocaust, but not quite sure what the angle will be, although I’m sure there’s something in here…oh, I know, he has a Facebook page! Bingo! I’m all over that.