Sara's Story

Sara's Story

"It doesn't have anything to do with being Christian or Jewish, its about being human."
38
views

Born on May 25, 1927, Sara Auerbach grew up in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). As a child, she was very poor. She grew up with a widowed mother and her five brothers and sisters. One thing Sara loved growing up was school. However, in that time they didn’t have clothing stores—your dresses were made specifically for you. She recalls one instance when she was at school and another girl came up to her and said, “I had that dress.”

When Sara was 12 she started living with another woman for work. A year later, after Passover holiday was over, Nazi’s came and put the woman and Sara in a ghetto for Jews. From the ghetto, they were transported to a concentration camp by a train. While getting off the train, you were to leave all of your items onboard—you could take nothing but the clothes on your back with you. Prior to entering the concentration camp, Sara, 13, was holding the woman’s child in her hands. A German soldier saw Sara, the infant and the woman and asked for the mother to come forward with the child. Sara never saw either of them again.

In Auschwitz, Sara was tattooed with a number on her arm. Sara was no longer her name—her new name was the number. She distinctly remembers the conditions in Auschwitz, her room was a large room with beds on top of each other. There were 4 crematoriums, each crematorium was a cornered room with windows. The windows did not open, however the back of the building had a slight hole which is where gas cans would be thrown into the room. She didn’t know German at the time, but she learned quickly because you would be beaten if you didn’t speak it. Their clothes were essentially rags. Every morning she would wake up, get “coffee,” which was really just hot water, and then work. Each day the camp would serve one meal. Since there were no spoons in the beginning, a group of people would have one bowl where they would take a sip of soup. As a worker, Sara would search the hems of the clothes left behind for hidden money. She would also have to clean streets after bombings.

One morning, the soldiers said that everyone who needed new shoes was to stay from work. Sara decided not to go to work for the first time in camp because she was in desperate need of new shoes. She says that staying for shoes was the worst decision—that day all the people who went to work were saved by the Swedish and sent to Sweden. While she stayed, the Germans came and made her get into a truck. Confused, she told the German soldier that she had only stayed behind for shoes. The soldier responded with saying, “It's because you’re petite.” She was put into the back of the truck, which was full of dead people, and was taken to the crematorium. When the truck reached the crematorium, it was full and she was put to work. The next morning, the war was over.

Sara hitchhiked to Berlin in a Russian truck filled with potatoes. A Russian, Jewish soldier helped her leave the country, however she was caught by the British as she was illegally traveling to Israel. After realizing that she was a survivor, she was allowed into Israel after being quarantined and checked for health. Sara did not go home, she said, “I did not want to go back home, I didn’t know who was alive.” She did write letters afterwards asking if anyone knew who was alive, and letting them know where she was located.

Sara’s mother, brother and grandmother were killed in a gas chamber, her brother did not want to leave his mother or grandmother. Another one of her brothers became a soldier for the Russian army. Sara’s sister never went into a camp, she stayed with a Christian family. In Israel, Sara met her husband and had two children, a son and daughter. She then moved to the United States where she had another son.

She told me she often wonders why she survived. She has outlived her husband and daughter, both of whom died on the same day hours after each other five years ago, as well as her sister. She credits her survival to being poor as a child. She was used to going to bed hungry, the rich girls were not used to hunger and died fast in camps. Sara spent a year and a half in Auschwitz. She has since visited her home in Slovakia, however she says no Jewish people live there anymore, not one family went back. A quote that Sara told me is, “A man makes plans, but God makes decisions.” All you can do is go with the flow of life. Life is what you make of it, and there are no words to describe how lucky I am to have been in Sara’s presence.


Cover Image Credit: CNN

Popular Right Now

The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

67880
views

Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Kavanaugh Case Isn't Just About Sexual Assault, It's About The Systemic Oppression Of Women For Years And Years

When will we hold sexual offenders accountable?

98
views

The nation's eyes have been fixed on Brett Kavanaugh since he was nominated for the vacant Supreme Court seat in July. Unsurprisingly, the nomination caused a stir on the political left. An impending Republican majority on the Supreme Court provoked anxiety as to whether previous court decisions, particularly those involving marriage equality and reproductive freedom, would continue to be upheld.

Any scrutiny that had not previously been on Kavanaugh was attracted when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forth with allegations of sexual assault. She requested anonymity in her initial account of the experience, which she detailed in a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, but her identity was soon revealed and the investigation kick into high gear.

It hasn't taken long for the case to settle in the political hot seat. Proponents of Kavanaugh seem to diverge two ways: either denying Ford's claims entirely or excusing Kavanaugh's behavior as typical of a high school boy, both with the goal of pushing him through to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the opposition is all too eager to use Ford as a catalyst to keep Kavanaugh out of the courtroom. Both sides clearly have ulterior motives, but the heart of the issue lies with the case's implications on women and victims of sexual violence.

Many of Kavanaugh's supporters began with what is often the immediate response to claims of sexual assault — outright denial. They cited the allegations as being politically motivated and went on to question why Ford hadn't reported the attack right away. It may seem that it boils down to her word against his, but as of now, the facts seem to be on Ford's side. Beyond the fact that Dr. Ford recounted her story under a polygraph test and passed, the chances of a false sexual assault report are minuscule, about 2%. Furthermore, the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported entirely. It is not rare for survivors to come forth years or even decades after an attack, and with what backlash Ford and countless other women in her situation have endured, it's no wonder that this is the case. Either way, it's extremely disconcerting for women and girls to see sexual predators slide through the cracks of punishment and go on to attain success.

From the perspective of many women, Dr. Ford's case is yet another in a constant stream of sexual violence, and for many of us, it hits too close to home. If we ourselves haven't been assaulted, we know someone who has, and we rarely (if ever) see the assailant brought to justice. Of all rapes reported (a small number among all that take place), only about 20% are prosecuted, and of those, about one-third face jail time.

We consistently see public figures and celebrities accused of sexual misconduct, who nevertheless go on to thrive in their careers. Comedian Louis CK faced such allegations and was welcomed back by audiences after only a brief hiatus. Donald Trump himself was elected president despite his confirmed history of harassment and assault, amid a slew of disparaging remarks about women.

In the wake of numerous public figures being identified as rapists and sexual predators, women took to social media with the #MeToo movement. Countless former victims chimed in with their experiences of harassment and violence. However, despite the show of solidarity and momentary empowerment, little to no action was taken against perpetrators as a result. When victims of predatory behavior see these men being rewarded, how can we believe that the world is on our side? Assault survivors begin to reconsider reporting attacks, and transgressors continue to see their behavior as permissible. "Rape culture" is often disregarded as a feminist buzzword, but how can we deny it in the face of such damning evidence?

When it comes to Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, we can hope that the truth will surface in due time. But even if the truth resides with Ford's allegations, it's impossible to know whether Kavanaugh will even have to answer for his behavior. It's disheartening for women to look at the future of the Supreme Court and face what we are seeing: a man accused of assault, nominated by a known sexual offender, potentially deciding on policies that affect women directly. The voices of victims are continually silenced in these matters. Even if we battle the social, legal and cultural barriers to reporting an assault, we are denied and slandered on the other side and we often end up seeing assailants walk free after all. It is perpetually exhausting to see sexual offenders and rapists continuously pardoned for their crimes and placed in positions of power. It's time we realize that we deserve better.

Related Content

Facebook Comments