Imagine being stripped
from everything you have ever had, including your identity. Michael Bornstein
lived in Nazi concentration camps for seven months which is very surprising
because most children would only last two weeks there. Facing many obstacles at
the concentration camp Michael Bornstein had to overcome the fact this his father
and brother were murdered at Auschwitz.

            One day as Michael Bornstein was watching a film about
the holocaust – The Chosen –  he noticed
there was footage of him as a young boy at a Nazi concentration camp. Baffled
and overwhelmed at this footage, he called the director of the movie, asking
where this footage came from and how he managed to get a hold of it. Michael
Bornstein then bought a video camera and went to the theater to capture and
keep those moments recorded forever.

To
the Jews advantage, Michael Bornstein’s father was president of the union rod,
which worked with the Nazi Germans. When Michael Bornstein’s father found out
what was going on he tried to help and save as many Jewish people as he could,
from sneaking them underground to bribing the guards. Being very sick, Michael
Bornstein and his grandmother snuck into on infirmary, during a death march to
avoid the fate of young, sick Michael Bornstein. It is so mind blowing to think
that such little decisions were the fate of their lives.

Living
through the liberations, you would think the psychological effects would be
depression or trauma, but it was in fact just the opposite. Michael Bornstein
became a better person and a better parent for his children. He created a
positive life because of his optimism and joy. Michael Bornstein became very
protective of his children and grandchildren, for obvious reasons. Michael
Bornstein wanted to protect them, and he did not want them to know about the
horrors and experiences of Auschwitz and the concentration camp that he went
through. Realizing that what Michael Bornstein experienced was such an
important piece in history, his daughter pushed for him to tell his story.

One
thing that really made me stop and think was “It takes about sixty minutes to
adjust and to accept that everything has just been stolen from you, even your
name.” (Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very
Young Prisoner of Auschwitz.) Imagine having everything stripped and
taken from you in an instant, including your name. Your name is now a number
and that is how you will be identified by. Just like that, you are stripped
from your individuality and any thing that makes you, you. Gone.

Post
liberation was a time when everyone in the family had to look out for each
other. You could not afford to be dwell on what had happened to you, optimism
was a major factor. Positivity was the key. In 2001 Michael Bornstein visited Auschwitz, upon visitation
memories came flooding back and anticipation was the biggest thing. Michael
Bornstein used the quote his grandmother would to tell him in German, which
translates to “this too shall pass” when he would feel down or anything other
than optimistic. Optimism was a major factor for Michael Bornstein’s outlook on
life. After realizing people had it worse with no families, Michael Bornstein
began to be more accepting and open towards other people. It’s important for
people to be considerate of other minorities and other people of unfamiliar
backgrounds to us. Listening to the podcast, I realize it’s a very good example
to remind the world what can happen when bigotry goes unchecked. 

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