Son of Holocaust survivors visits SHS


Abigail Ferrier, Staff Writer

ai???It means nothing until you can feel what it was like to be Jewish during the Nazi Germany

These were Marc Blau’s words when he addressed Ms. Jennifer Lobasso’s class in early February. The students in class felt a small part of that experience when Mr. Blau, a retired history teacher from Bangor, visited SHS. He shared the story of his parents’ Walter and Gertrude Blau, as they escaped from Nazi forces when they fled Vienna, Austia, in 1939. According to Blau, many other family members did not escape; rather, they died in the Holocaust.

The students learned the hardships that Jews faced during the Holocaust through the experiences of Mr. Blauai??i??s parents as they fled Vienna, Austria in 1939.

Blau’s father told him stories of how he had heard the boots of the Nazis as they stormed into his house looking for him. Luckily his dad hid behind drywall which was remarkably unchecked by the Nazis.

At this point in their lives Blauai??i??s parentsAi??were 25 and newly married. Ai??They would soon discover that it would be necessary to leave their country if they wanted to survive.

ai???They did everything they possibly could to get out of Vienna and go God knows where,” said Blau.

In 1935 Nuremberg laws were announced which excluded Jews of all rights. Blau explained how their lives became very difficult, as neighbors turned on each other in order to survive and escape the country.

Anschluss is a German word that described the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in March 1938. The day Vienna was invaded, it was intruded with a parade of Nazi soldiers, and Motorcars. Large crowds had filled the streets to cheer on Adolf Hitler as he invaded the city.

Ai??ai???Those people standing along the streets are cheering for that

Blau’s parents reached out to an American friend who was willing to help them once they both got out of the country. Blauai??i??s mother stood in line for hours to get passports which were almost denied at the last minute because the office was closing.Ai??

ai???She decided to not lie down, she decided to fight,” explained Blau. Ai??His motherAi??ran into the office, wrapped her legs around the desk, and refused to leave without the passports, which they finally handed her.

Both of Blau’s parents successfully made it to the United States, where they met the American family that helped them find jobs. Blau’s parents moved to Bangor, PA, where they found employment. Blau’s father actually enlisted in the U.S. Army to finish out the war in Europe against Hitler.

ai???Bangor was a little safe haven for Jewish people,” Blau said.

Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, many facing the harsh cruelties of concentration camps. Ai??While Blau’s parents survived, most of their other relatives did not.Ai??His parents did not try to locate old friends and would hardly speak about what had happened in Austria, so Blau was forced to turn elsewhere. He spent three years researching scrapbooks, with assistance from the Red Cross. He was able to locate and explore plenty of records that related to his parents’ experience.

For the Blaus, the process of escaping the Nazis in Vienna, Austria was one of courage. Ai??The students in Lobasso’s class had the privilege of hearing an amazing, true story — thanks to Mr. Marc Blau.