The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Dawn


Alexis Camuso

Gerda Klein-Holocaust Survivor

Alexis Camuso, Junior Staff Writer

“You’ve heard the stories. You’ve read the stories. I lived the stories,” states  Gerda Weissman Klein, a survivor of the Holocaust, who spoke at Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center on Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

As a young girl, Klein lived in Bielsko, Poland with her mother, father and older brother.  When she was 15 years old, in 1939, Poland was invaded by the Germans.  Later that year, her brother was ordered to leave their home by the Germans.  The family disintegration continued, and In June of 1942, Klein  and both of her parents were separated.

Klein spent six years in various labor camps such as Militz, Landeshut, Bolkenhain, and Märzdorf.  She also endured starvation and freezing weather while experiencing the “death marches.”  Klein was liberated in 1945 by an American, Lieutenant named Kurt Klein, whom she would eventually marry in June of 1946.

The Kleins currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Gerda Klein has three children and eight grandchildren. She enjoys traveling around the world and retelling her story so that no one ever forgets the horror inflicted upon those of Jewish descent.

Klein has written an autobiography based on her accounts titled All But My Life.  She has also won an Emmy and an Academy Award for the short film One Survivor Remember,  which was shown at the October 29th event.

Klein mentioned how much she cherishes her American passport. When asked what her favorite memory of America is, she replied without hesitation, “Getting my American citizenship.” She passionately listed things she loves about America with freedom being the greatest. “If you have freedom,” she states, “everything is possible.”   It is speakers like Klein who make those of us remember how important that freedom is to each and every American.