Hugo Schiller | S.C. Voices: Lessons from the Holocaust
Hugo Schiller grew up in Germany in the 1930s, hearing about Hitler. His parents were forced to sell their business. In 1938, his father was arrested. His education in a public school ended when it was decreed that Jewish children couldn't go to public school. He went to a Jewish school; his only friends were there. In 1940 he was deported by train to the first Jewish concentration camp in France. Terror filled the train because people didn't know what to expect. No one had any idea this was a holding camp for the extermination camps to be built in Poland. The inmates were surrounded by barbed wire and a sea of mud. There was little food and disease spread. Everyone asked constantly—"Where will we end up? We often felt guilty when we made it and others didn't." Schiller's parents were gassed in Auschwitz. He arrived in the U.S. and for the first time in a long time was able to sleep at night in complete safety. "The Holocaust exists in the public mind as long as there are survivors. These interviews are crucial so that there is recorded evidence even when survivors die," says Schiller.