EXPIRED: 06/18/10 – George Brown, 81, was born Georg Braun (he changed his name when he came to North America), the youngest of six, and grew up in Mateszalka, Hungary. When the Nazis invaded, passing laws that isolated the Jews from their countrymen, his family was put into a ghettos and finally packed into a freight train bound for a destination written in chalk on the outside of the cars. Auschwitz.
“Auschwitz didn’t have sunshine. The sky was full of ashes,” Brown remembered in an interview. “There were no birds, no butterflies. Only death.”
There, in 1944, his family exited the train. Women and the elderly were separated from the rest. Brown last saw his mother, Matild on that day. She was gassed that day. Brown was 15.
The family left Auschwitz on D-Day and were sent to a work camp in Poland. His brother Bela died in an English bomb raid and his other brother Erno, simply disappeared. His sister died of a virus at the camp.
With the Russians closing in, the work camp was closed. Brown and his father, Moritz Braun, ended up in a large concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria. After weeks of receiving his father’s rations of bread, Moritz Braun died in March 1945.
Two months later, the U.S. Army tanks freed the prisoners at Ebensee.
Brown emigrated to Canada, then to the United States and started a new family.
But the nightmares took a while to go away. His story, “Survived to Tell the Truth,” was finally published 25 years after it happened.
Eventually Brown moved to Los Angeles, where he gave talks about his personal story of prejudice, terror and evil at the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Tolerance. The center, which includes a museum and daily testimonials from Holocaust survivors, is dedicated to promoting racial harmony.