Students at Mintz Christian Academy welcomed Abe Piasek, a Holocaust survivor, on Nov. 17.
Piasek shared with the middle and high school students his experiences as a young boy during WWII in the German concentration camps. After Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany in September 1940, Piasek recalled how all the Jews from his hometown were either killed or sent to concentration camps.
It is estimated that over 79,000 people died at Maidanek, and approximately 850,000 people at Treblinka. When Piasek was only 12 years old, he was sent to Radom, a forced labor camp in central Poland. He never saw his family again and to this day, doesn’t know what happened to his parents or sister.
At Radom, Piasek was forced to work in construction and arms manufacturing. He and other prisoners were subjected to extreme hardships and abuses. Despite the lack of food and inhumand treatment, Piasek managed to survive. After two years at Radom, he was sent Auschwitz, the largest Nazi death camp, where over 960,000 people were killed.
Once again Piasek faced unimaginable abuses only to be moved again to Weinhausen, German, where the hardship and cruelty continued. In 1945, when he was 17 years old, an African American battalion liberated his group. After the war was over Piasek moved to the United States where he met his wife and started his family.
He currently resides in Raleigh. For over 30 years he refused to speak about the Holocaust, as he was reminded of the horrid, inhumane struggles he and other endured but now he spends a majority of his time speaking to school groups across the state about the Holocaust, sharing his first-hand accounts of a time in our history that must never be forgotten.