• Auschwitz Survivor Pens Moving Op-Ed Recounting Holocaust

    This Tuesday marks the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation.

    One of its most famous survivors, Martin Greenfield, wrote a gut-wrenching op ed today on what it means to “Never Forget” the brutality that led to the murder of his family and his six million fellow Jews. The article is taken from his bestselling autobiography, Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents’ Tailor:

    Seventy years ago I was in a Nazi concentration camp.

    Since then, I’ve seen tyrants and dictators enter and exit the global stage. Yet as the world prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation, it is perhaps well and right that we reflect on how the Holocaust shocked the moral imagination on a scale the world could scarcely fathom.

    Why ponder such things? Because for far too many, the Holocaust remains a mystery.

    A major poll taken last year of 53,000 people found that just 54 percent had ever heard of the Holocaust. Knowledge of Auschwitz is likely even more limited, particularly among young people. Past surveys have shown that nearly half of Britons had never heard of Auschwitz. Some schoolchildren even thought Auschwitz was a type of beer.

    Here at home in America a debate erupted last year when a teenager posted a smiling selfie at Auschwitz. Whatever your opinion on the appropriateness of her actions, I was at least pleased to be reminded that some young Americans still visit the Nazi concentration camp to learn history up close.

    Mr. Greenfield goes on to recount the day he would never see his family again, and the parting words his dad left him with that inspired his incredible journey.

    I, too, visited Auschwitz as a teenager. In 1944, my family and I stood in line before Dr. Joseph Mengele—the Nazi physician known as the “Angel of Death”—as my mother, grandparents, two sisters, and baby brother were all sent to the left to be burned in Hitler’s ovens. My father and I were sent to the right.

    The first night inside Auschwitz my father said we must separate because together we would suffer double. “On your own, you will survive,” he told me. “You are young and strong, and I know you will survive. If you survive by yourself, you must honor us by living, by not feeling sorry for us. This is what you must do.” That was the last time I ever saw my father.

    I’m grateful for my father’s words of grace and guidance. They echo in my heart even still. It’s a cruel thing, feeling guilty for surviving. But my father erased any future guilt and replaced it with purpose. It was a gift only a father’s wisdom could give. It gave me a reason to go forward, a reason to be. It does still.

    Today Martin Greenfield is the owner and operator of  Martin Greenfield Clothiers, a Brooklyn-based boutique clothing factory that has tailored suits for presidents and Hollywood stars for more than 50 years.

    Mr. Greenfield has been hailed “America’s greatest living tailor” and the “most interesting man in the world.”

    His story is inspirational and his wisdom is prescient.

    The world is filled with evil, as the Holocaust proved many decades ago and as we as a nation witnessed firsthand on September 11, 2001.

    As Mr. Greenfield wrote, “we must all do our part to help ensure that ‘Never Forget remains much more than a threadbare catchphrase that gathers dust and loses meaning with each passing year.”

    Amen.

    Pick up your copy of Measure of a Man today.


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