Holocaust Survivor Visits DDCUS

Jack Waksal, Holocaust survivor, spends a day at DDCUS


Sofia Alamo

Photo by Sofia Alamo

Sofia Alamo, Staff Writer

DDCUS students had the incredible honor of talking to Holocaust survivor, Jack Waksal.

In 1944, when Mr. Waksal was a teenager, he saw his parents and sisters killed at Pionki, a concentration camp in Poland. Somehow, along with 15 other people, he worked up the courage to escape the camp through a forest. He survived the escape, and then, after the liberation of the camps, he fled to Germany where he met his wife. Some years later, they were able to migrate to the United States and start a new life.

Mr. Waksal now dedicates his time to visiting schools all over Florida where hopes to help students understand the legacy of the Holocaust.

How old were you when you were liberated?

I was 16-years-old.

What was your line of work in the United States?

I went into business. Well, first I was working in a gas station. After this, I opened a scrapyard in Dayton, Ohio. We had cranes that took cars apart and crushed them.

What message would you give to students going through a hard time?

There will always be hard times in life. It is not easy. The best thing is to get a good education. That is what I think is most important in life, and it is what I taught my kids. You can be anything in the United States, whatever you like. If you want to do it, you can do it. Here, nothing is taken for granted. And with a good education, you can be at the top of the world.