Joe Engel | S.C. Voices: Lessons from the Holocaust


Joe Engel was born near Warsaw, Poland in 1927. His father ran a luncheonette grocery. He went to public school in a small Jewish community and felt the animosity created by anti-Semitism. In 1942 all Jews were sent to work camps; families were separated. Engel doesn't know where his parents were sent. Most went to gas chambers, especially those who did not do their work. If quarters were not spic and span, they "beat the hell out of you." Many were buried alive and their graves burned. The smell of burning bodies was prominent. Every six months, there were mass killings and new prisoners arrived. In Auschwitz, Engel was a brick layer, building spaces in the crematoriums for new bodies. After Liberation, he returned to Poland but found no one he knew. He came to New York and eventually settled in Charleston, S.C.


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