Holocaust survivor Leslie Schwartz will speak about his experiences as a teenager in Auschwitz, Dachau and Mühldorf and show a film titled “The Mühldorf Death Train” on Wednesday, April 5 at 6 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The event is sponsored by the German studies department at the University of Arizona College of Humanities, the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and the Tucson J.
Born in a small village in Hungary, Schwartz now divides his time between the United States and Germany. By bearing witness to what he experienced during the Holocaust, he aims to make his life a force for positive change, unity and healing. His recent talks and travels have been covered by major media in the United States including The New York Times, CBS and ABC news.
His memoir, “To Survive Hell” by Karen Thisted, published in 2007 in Denmark, quickly became a number one bestseller. In 2010 a German translation was published and in 2013 the Berlin-based publisher Lit Verlag released an English version, co-written with Marc David Bonagura, “Surviving the Hell of Auschwitz and Dachau: A Teenage Struggle Toward Freedom from Hatred.”
Along with chronicling his struggle to survive imprisonment in the camps, Schwartz’ memoir also revisits small acts of kindness he experienced from German civilians. It details his search to reconnect with one unnamed hero, who in a small farmhouse in Bavaria on April 27, 1945 offered the starving 15-year-old boy bread, butter and the most delicious glass of milk he ever received.
In the summer of 2010 he discovered her name was Barbara Huber, and he says that when he met with her daughter, Marianne Maier, the fragments of his soul began to reassemble, beginning an incredible healing journey.
In 2013, Schwartz was awarded Germany’s highest civilian honor—The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel made a point to visit Schwartz and express her gratitude for his tireless efforts to educate German students.