As Heard on WCCO
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is this Jan. 27, and a west suburban man who lived through it is saying “don’t forget.”
“All I can remember is I was growing up, everything was normal, until I was about seven years old. And then things changed,” 91-year-old George Mueller told WBBM Newsradio about his early years in Germany.
Mueller now lives at Belmont Village Senior Living Geneva Road in Carol Stream.
“It was just one thing after another. People singing outside of our house in the night, yelling about the Jews. It’s just hard to understand. Then we had to get out of our house,” Mueller remembered.
Mueller and his family were sent to several concentration camps. Eventually, a man named Mr. Mackelenberg who was in the Dutch underground, lied about Mueller and his sister, saying they were not fully Jewish.
And that lie saved their lives.
“All the kids in this camp were sent to (a concentration camp) with their mothers, and all were gassed. There were five people left in this camp and I was one of them and my sister was another. And that’s because of Mr. Mackelenberg. And that’s the reason I’m still here,” Mueller said.
Mueller wrote a book about the Holocaust and his own journey to freedom, so that no one will forget.
“The name of the book is ‘Lucie’s Hope.’ My mother’s maiden name was Lucie Hope. Her hope was to save her children, which she did,” he said.
Mueller said he does not participate in as many Holocaust remembrances as he used to.
“It’s not that I want to forget, but I’m trying to live a normal life,” he said.
He said the hate in America today sometimes brings back memories of Germany, eight decades ago.
“They throw bricks through windows, that’s what they did in Germany. They beat people up on the street, that’s what they did in Germany. They beat Jewish people up for no reason. They killed them, shot them. All those things are happening here,” he said.
Mueller said what’s also frightening is that when something bad happens, some try to wipe it away.
“For years and years I’ve always said this could never happen in this country. But now, I’m not so sure. I’m not saying it will, but I’m not so sure,” he said.