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Holocaust survivor shares her story at Troy Middle School in Plainfield

Holocaust survivor Magda Brown recently visited students at Troy Middle School to share her story of survival.

The presentation was made possible thanks, in part, to Troy Middle School eighth-grade student Etta Sklar, who raised money last year through a shoe drive to enable Brown to come in and talk about her experience.

Brown was a teenager being raised in Hungary when the Nazis invaded in March 1944, when World War II had reached its height in Europe. Allied forces did not land in France until June 1944.

Close to half a million Jewish persons and others were moved from their homes into ghettos, sections of a city allocated for ethnic people.

“Once you left your home, you could never ever get anything back, even if you returned alive,” Brown said.

At the Nazi’s order, Brown’s house became a station for 40 people to be incarcerated.

“You cannot fathom the crowded conditions,” she said. “You have to think of the emotional aspect, here, as well because there are different personalities.”

Brown’s home was later evacuated, and the Nazi’s marched everyone to a brickyard. There, Brown had no access to water or toilets.

Brown questioned why this happened and said that’s why she equates the holocaust to a “premeditated, scientifically-coordinated mass murder.”

“Everything was done with precision,” she said.

A short time later Brown and others were shoved in a boxed car. They were transported to a concentration camp, where families were separated.

Brown recalled the horrific conditions she endured throughout it all.

Those in the camp went through a selection process. It was then the Nazi’s took time to determine which people were killed or released, and Brown was released.

Brown said as a result, she does not have a tattoo on her arm because they needed people to do labor in Germany.

“I had never seen a factory, let alone worked in a factory, but when you are forced to do the work, you just learn it or else,” she said. “It was a very strenuous work.”

There were two shifts: a morning shift and a night shift.

Brown said people will never learn of the true conditions endured in any documentary.

“The factory was built underground,” she said. “The roof was flat. It was solid, and trees were growing out of it.”

Brown said from the outside, she and the others could not be found working inside the factory.

One night, Brown and others made an attempt to flee for a barn, Brown said. A short time later, they were under the military’s supervision, and their lives returned to normal.

Brown said what kept her going throughout it all was holding onto the belief that tomorrow will be a better day.

By 1946, Brown was reconnected with some relatives in the United States.

Since then, Brown has called the U.S. her home.

Sklar wanted to thank everyone for helping her to accomplish her goal to bring in a Holocaust survivor to share her story.


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