Through the Eyes of a Holocaust Survivor

Through the Eyes of a Holocaust Survivor

Hana Varsano, Staff Writer

Gabriella Karin, age 90,  is a survivor of the Holocaust. She is from Slovakia and her family owned a Jewish Deli by the police station. She had several friends, but only one of them survived the Holocaust. 60,000 Jews were deported from Slovakia and only 230 returned. Starting at age 11, she lived three years in a convent, without her family, and had to deny her Jewish identity from people.

For one year she didn’t see her family. “I cried myself to sleep,” she said, until her mother visited her once. Her favorite teacher at the school was Sister Angelica. The nuns cared with concern for her. Soon it became too dangerous though, and she then spent  nine months with her family in an 1 bedroom apartment, across from the Gestapo headquarters.

Out of all the apartments in the city, “the only house they never went to was the one where we were hidden,” she explained. She and her family survived thanks to Blanar, whom she recognized as a “Righteous Person Among Nations” in 2004. “He gave me a chance to live my own life.” she said, “and I was looking for him everywhere.”

She searched for him all her life and she eventually found out that he had died in an unmarked grave in Columbus, Ohio. Although her, her uncles, her parents, and aunt survived, over 75 other family members died.

Karin is now an artist who creates sculptures depicting the horrors of the Holocaust. One piece depicts the 5 million civilians other than Jews who died, including handicapped people, homosexuals, gypsies, Courageous Resisters, and Catholics. Another one of her artworks is of fallen leaves, representing the 6 million Jews who died. A third piece represents the 75 people who died in her family, again using fallen leaves. One other shows the horror and suffering that the people in the concentration camps went through as the Nazis forced people to work, crammed too many people into bunk beds, burned items created and owned by Jews, made people turn into bystanders, and used gas chambers. However, it also shows that through the suffering, a new country that accepts Jews was built, which is Israel.

In a time where anti-Semitism, racism, and white supremacy exist, history is unfortunately repeating itself, and it needs to end. People need to unite and not let people spread false statements about other groups. We can’t have so much hatred and violence in this world and we can’t just use groups of people as a scapegoat.

“Don’t be a bystander,” Karin said to those who fear judgement for calling out hate speech. “Speak up!”