EAST LANSING – Holocaust survivor Martin Lowenberg, 90, tells his story to honor the 11 million victims who died, including his brothers and parents. He also wants to make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again.
“Why kill? Why burn? 1-and-a-half million beautiful children dead. No one can understand,” said Lowenberg.
Lowenberg addressed a packed audience at the MSU Union last Tuesday in the wake of rising rates of anti-Semitic crimes nationwide.
“We see it happening today,” said Lowenberg. “We have to see first what is happening with the administration and everything else.”
There have been 90 anti-Semitic incidents on campuses since February – twice as many as last year, according to the Anti Defamation League. In response, Jewish groups across the country have pressed President Trump for a response.
At a February press conference, an orthodox Jewish reporter had this exchange with the president:
Reporter: There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to–
President Trump: Okay, sit down. I understand the rest of your question I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your life.
Despite the increase in these hate crimes, Lowenberg has faith in the direction of the country.
“I am not afraid of what is going to happen because this country is so strong,” said Lowenberg. “With patience, none of this will happen.”
Michigan State has more than 3,500 Jewish students. MSU Hillel serves many of them.
“We are a resource for Jewish students if there were to be a
n anti-semitic act committed on campus,” said MSU Hillel associate director Robyn Hughey.
The center also offers cultural activities like weekly shabbat dinners and events to celebrate holidays.
“It’s not necessarily about being Jewish, but community building,” said Hughey.
Sometimes building that community involves hosting guests like Lowenberg.
During his speech, he recalled the year he spent in a Latvian prison camp and the fate of his family members. He lost his twin brothers and parents while he has two living sisters in New Jersey and California.
Despite his hardships, Lowenberg has a message of hope.
“Tomorrow is going to be a better day,” said Lowenberg. “Even sometimes when you’re down, you’re not always going to be down. You have to be strong.”
By Chloe Kiple