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Running Head: PAUL HARVEY THE REST OF THE STORY

Paul Harvey The Rest of the Story Joe Kolousek North Carolina State University

Running Head: PAUL HARVEY THE REST OF THE STORY

Between the ages of 16 and 20 years old, Lucille Eichengreen lived her life in the ghettos of Poland, the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, the work camp Dessauerufer, and the slave labor camp in Neungamme. She survived blazing summer heat and frozen, snowy winters. She was starved, abused, and separated from those she knew and loved. Both her parents were dead by the time she was 17. Despite all of this, she survived and went on to marry, have children, and live a healthy, happy life. How did she do it? How did she overcome the terrible struggles she was forced to endure? This is the rest of the story: Lucille struggled with faith, hope, and religion while living in the camps. Her family was religious when she was growing up, but after spending time in the camps and seeing the horror going on all around her, all sense of religion was lost to her. She got to a point in which she contemplated suicide but she never attempted it because shed seen others do it and it was not a pleasant way to die. The one thing that helped her to survive was friendships. Without a friend, surviving would have been impossible. On a cool, cloudy April day, Lucille found out that Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British troops. She didnt feel relieved or elated--instead, she felt numb. She felt guilty. She had somehow survived but all of her family and relatives had perished. As a young 20-year old, she felt somehow responsible. She didnt know how to cope with that, and guilt has stayed with her her entire life. She also had envisioned the liberation to be a big celebration and all of her friends and family would be there. But it was not at all like that. There was no party. And Lucille was all alone. Lucilles first job after the war was working for the British military helping them capture German SS soldiers. She was afraid to face the soldiers and she did receive threats on her life, presumably from the families of the SS. Whats really ironic is that facing her tormentors and

Running Head: PAUL HARVEY THE REST OF THE STORY

seeing them put behind bars didnt bring any sense of closure to Lucille. It didnt change anything for her. Her family was still gone and she still had to live with the terrible memories of what she experienced. Lucille was also angry because the soldiers received very light sentences for their crimes and also received pensions. To this day, Lucille has never received any compensation for what she had to endure. Lucille eventually made her was to America and ended up in New York City. Unfortunately for her, anti-Semitism did not end with the war. When Lucille applied for a job upon arriving in New York, she was told, simply, We dont take Jews or Italians. She was also supremely disappointed in Jewish people who were living in America during World War II. They were so ignorant and uninformed as to what actually happened in Europe. Life in America after the war was not exactly as Lucille had envisioned. She was still a Jew, she would always be a Jew, and that was not something that she would deny or lie about, even if there were still people who would persecute her for something she had no control over. When Lucille met her future husband at a dinner party, she learned that he was the son of an elderly couple that Lucille was friends with in the Polish ghetto. Lucilles future husband wanted to know about his parents and what had happened to them, but Lucille couldnt talk about those experiences for a long time. Eventually, shortly before their wedding, she and her fianc took a long walk around New York City one fall afternoon and she told him everything. One time. They never spoke about it again. Lucille also has never told her two sons details of what transpired. When her sons were in college, they learned about the Holocaust in detail (one son has a degree in history) but as far as Lucilles personal experiences, they dont know. Its too difficult for Lucille to speak about and her sons respect that and dont ask.

Running Head: PAUL HARVEY THE REST OF THE STORY

In the early 1990s, Lucille began to write a book and in 1994, From Ashes to Life: My Memories of the Holocaust was published. This book served as a way for Lucille to heal but more importantly it served as a way to ensure that people never forgot what happened during the Holocaust. Lucille has had occasional interactions with people who dont believe the Holocaust was real and not many things in life make Lucille more upset than that. In her book, Lucille chronicles her experiences with the hopes that people will read about her life and learn the truth about those terrible years. In 1995, Lucille returned to Germany for the first time since leaving in 1945. She visited Hamburg on an invitation by the Hamburg senate, and she also visited Auschwitz and the ghetto in d, Poland. This visit was not easy for her, but it was something that she needed to do. The sun was shining and birds were chirping but the memories brought back to her by the sights she saw clouded her mood. To this day she doesnt trust the Germans, and she doesnt like them, but she also doesnt hate them anymore. To live a healthy, happy life, she had to let go of the hate. But she didnt have to forget. And she hasnt. She made the best of a terrible situation. Somehow, she found the will and the way to survive. She married, had two children, worked as an insurance agent, wrote a book, and has lectured at countless schools and universities. She is living proof that the human spirit is indomitable.

Works Cited Eichengreen, Lucille. (1994). From Ashes to Life: My Memories of the Holocaust. New York City: Mercury House.

Running Head: PAUL HARVEY THE REST OF THE STORY

Eichengreen, Lucille. (2002). Telling Stories. By Julianne, Leah, Matthew, with Howard Levin. Retrieved from http://tellingstories.org/holocaust/leichengreen/index.html.