By Benjamin C. Klein
ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) — The son of a holocaust survivor who taught at Ithaca High School for the past 50 years is holding a talk about his late father’s experience surviving a concentration camp and being hidden by a Polish family.
Part of Holocaust Memorial Day, the talk will be given by Severin Drix on April 17th at Temple Beth-El in Ithaca about the experiences of the late Dr. Samuel Drix.
“My father wanted to tell the story not only about the Holocaust but about that part of Poland because there were so few people who survived there,” Severin said, adding, “Nobody knew what happened. He thought it was a sacred duty.”
Dr. Drix was a 29-year-old physician working in Poland, when Germany attacked in June of 1941. As a result of the Nazi occupation Dr. Drix was moved to the Jewish ghetto in Lwów, where he was eventually rounded up and sent to the Janowska concentration camp in 1942.
He survived 10 months of near starvation and slave labor conditions at various labor sites that “brigades” of prisoners were sent to, killing thousands. Nearly 40,000 Jews were lost their lives at Janowska before the Germans liquidated it in 1943.
He was later sent to another camp where he escaped and was hidden by a Polish couple.
“This couple risked their lives and their young children — they were Polish Catholics,” Severin said. “It was a very difficult year.”
Like many Jewish people who survived the holocaust, Dr. Drix lost nearly every single member of his family, including his first wife and daughter. Dr. Drix, with the help of his son, recorded his experiences in the Janowska concentration camp and in hiding in his memoir, “Witness to Annihilation: Surviving the Holocaust.”
Severin was born in a refugee camp outside of Munich. Dr. Drix would later move to Brooklyn with his second wife, who also lost her entire family in the war.
Sponsored by the Ithaca Area United Jewish Community, the talk is free and open to the public, but prior registration is required. If interested please visit this link to register in advance.