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Jack Gruener's Story
Transcript of Jack Gruener's Story
Thoughts and Feelings
"Each morning that Jack woke up was another victory, another day he didn't face death from a trumped-up charge or from giving the wrong answer or from going into a shower that spewed poison gas instead of water."
In this passage, we realize the difficulty and determination that each one of these Jews went through and grasped.
Before The War
Jack had many things important to him before the war such as visiting the library. Sadly, one of the first rights taken from Jews was reading and public libraries.
Jack Gruener's Story
During the War
When the war first started, Jack and his family were locked into the ghettos of Poland. When they first entered the three-room apartment that they were going to share with twelve other people, Jack discovered a small secret compartment. His family lived in that compartment for about a year before they were found. Jack's parents and other family were all taken by the Nazis. Jack was taken less than a year later and sent to a labor camp outside Krakow called Plaszow. Jack was reunited with his Uncle Moshe at the camp until Moshe was murdered by the camp's commandant Amon Goeth. One day, Jack pulled up some old floorboards in his cabin, and found a crawlspace big enough for three men his size. Jack and two other men hid in the crawlspace every day for two weeks, resting and avoiding work until one day the commander, Goeth, and a guard came to search the premises. Jack and the men quickly left the crawlspace and escaped the guards. A few weeks later, Jack and 600 other prisoners were sent from Aushwitz on a death march that lasted about two weeks.
Jack lived a normal life, right up until the Nazi's arrived in Krakow, Poland, on September 6, 1939. Jack's favorite thing to do was frequently visiting the library, and learning things such as medicine and science. As soon as that right was taken away from the Jews, Jack had immediately developed his opinion towards the Nazi's. Jack's family, along with many others, were soon sent to the ghettos of ghettos of Poland. When Jack was sent to the death camps, he was placed in the same camp as his uncle. A few weeks later, his uncle was murdered, leaving Jack on his own. His parents had also died, but Jack never found that out until later on. Jack was sent on a two week long death march, until they reached a camp in Bergen-Belsen, and stayed there for several weeks, until finally the Americans defeated the Nazi's and rescued them from the camps.
Jack went back to Krakow, looking for his parents and never learned what happened to them, but assumed they were killed. He and only two cousins were the only family members that survived the war. Jack visited one of the cousins who was living in Munich, Germany. While there, Jack met Luncia Gamzer and eventually married her in 1953. They later had two sons, Daniel and Arthur, and four grandchildren. Today, Jack and Luncia live in Brooklyn and frequently give talks about their Holocaust experiences to many people around America.