April 8, 2010

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Marist Holocaust Remembrance hears from concentration camp survivor

Bradin:  “There is no reason to discriminate"

POUGHKEEPSIE – Over half a century has passed since the end of World War II and Rockland County resident Samuel Bradin stands proud as a survivor of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps delivering his message of hope and courage to younger generations.

Bradin, 80, was the keynote speaker featured at the 20th Marist  College Holocaust Remembrance, which also included music and readings preformed by students and a ceremonial candle lighting to honor the millions of lives lost during one of the most tragic events in history.

Bradin had a message for the younger generations. “We cannot discriminate against one another,” Bradin said specifically to current and future generations, “There is no reason to discriminate. We live in a great free county like the United States and there’s room for everybody.” According to Mr. Bradin, there is no reason to discriminate based on race, creed, ethnicity, or any reason.“We can live in peace and happiness and we are the ones to show the example for the world.”

Despite all that he has been through, Bradin considers himself privileged to spread his story of courage to generations that will only read of the Holocaust in history books.

Bradin was taken captive at age 12 along with his six siblings and their parents, and when he was liberated by the British from Bergen-Belsen at age 15, he was the only surviving member of his family.

Bradin was first taken to Auschwitz and then transferred to Bergen-Belsen towards the end of the war, for extermination. “When we got to Bergen-Belsen we knew it was the end,” he said as he detailed his horrific journey. “The roads for hundreds of miles were lined with dead bodies.”

During his speech, he recounted stories of torturous routines within the camps consisting of inadequate rations, slave labor, and severe beatings. The experience was so traumatic he said that telling his story is like speaking about the life of someone else. “If I tell the story, I tell it like I wasn’t there.”

When asked how he survived this ordeal Bradin said “barely,” noting that he weighed approximately 65 pounds upon liberation and had the British come only a few weeks, later he would not have made it.

Sadly, his older brother, who had been with him at Bergen-Belsen, died two days before the prisoners were set free.


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