Reflections on the Holocaust

Bailey Hill, Multimedia Contributor

Lucille Eichengreen was given a simple rule to live by when she was younger.  

“The only advice my father ever gave me: ‘don’t ever kill another human being,’” said Eichengreen when a member of the crowd asked her what the best advice she had ever been given was. “I had a pistol in my hand at one time; I could have shot a German, and couldn’t,” she continued.

On Tuesday, April 25, at the LaSells Stewart Center, the 92-year-old Eichengreen visited Oregon State University in collaboration with the School of History, Philosophy and Religion in honor of their 31st Annual OSU Holocaust Memorial Week.

Before Eichengreen started her story, Biff Traber, Mayor of Corvallis, read aloud his proclamation declaring the week of April 24-27 as “Days of Remembrance in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and in the honor of the survivors, as well as the rescuers and liberators.” 

Eichengreen captivated the crowd with the unsettling stories of her past, including her life during the Holocaust. These stories included her survival through the Lodz Ghetto, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen internment camps. Unfortunately, members of her family were not so lucky.

Eichengreen’s mother starved to death during her time in the Lodz Ghetto, and her sister and father were both murdered in the camps. Eichengreen was fortunate enough to see liberation, and was able to assist the British in identifying and bringing over 40 German camp personnel to their due justices.

These actions brought her death threats, and aided in her decision to move to the United States. In the U.S. she has been able to live a very happy life as a mother to her two children, and as a wife to her husband. She claims that she recognized her husband’s name when she met him, and soon realized that she had known his parents in the Lodz Ghetto, although they did not survive.

Upon closing her story, she wanted the crowd to know that she does not try to think about the past, but does have the occasional nightmare. She says that for the most part, life has been good to her here in the U.S.

Immediately proceeding the public talk with the audience, Eichengreen stuck around for the sale of her books, as well as a book signing.

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