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Holocaust survivor speaks about his life experiences

Collin Goeman

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Holocaust survivor Lee Marnett shares with the audience what mentality kept him alive during the Holocaust, “Without humor, you can’t survive. Humor is what keeps you alive.Janice Lee | The Advance-Titan

Holocaust survivor Lee Marnett shares with the audience what mentality kept him alive during the Holocaust, “Without humor, you can’t survive. Humor is what keeps you alive.”

Holocaust survivor Lee Marnett shared his story of survival, as well as life lessons with students and community members Wednesday in Sage Hall.

In his speech, Marnett talked about being taken from his home in Lithuania at the age of six and sent to a ghetto with his family, before being taken to Stutthof and Dachau concentration camps.

Marnett said he was able to survive by becoming the camp commander’s personal servant.

Marnett said being positive and having the right attitude brought him through his time at the camps.

“I am very blessed,” Marnett said. “Even though these bad things have happened to me, I never lost my faith.”

Marnett said he was liberated by American soldiers when he was 13 and shortly after, immigrated to the United States.

“I feel God punished me with one hand, then blessed me with the other,” Marnett said. “I was blessed to come here, to the greatest place in the world.”

Marnett said sharing his experiences with students is extremely rewarding for him.

“I always enjoy speaking to young people because they are the future of America,” Marnett said. “This is what life’s all about, to do good.”

History professor Jeffrey Pickron said having a Holocaust survivor on campus was a huge honor.

“This is such a great opportunity, and it’s an opportunity we really don’t get anymore,” Pickron said. “Any chance we have to bring someone with this kind of experience to let students know what it was like, we definitely want to take advantage of that.”

Pickron said learning about horrific events like this is important and will help us avoid making mistakes in the future.

“It was one of the most traumatic events in human history, and it shows us what we can become,” Pickron said. “People know that there is a danger of it happening again, so it’s a good thing that we do things like this.”

Freshman Joselyn Roedl said hearing about these experiences firsthand was very powerful.

“I’ve always been interested in learning about the Holocaust, so I thought it was interesting to have someone who lived through it speak to us.” Roedl said.

Roedl said the life lessons Marnett shared were just as impactful as the stories he told.

“Being grateful for your life, and thankful for the things we have, that’s what I took away from it.” Roedl said.

Marnett said being kind to one another will prevent more catastrophic events in the future.

“To make a better world, people must understand that being kind is important,” Marnett said. “When you are kind to one another, everyone gets along much better.”

Marnett said having confidence in what you do is the most important life lesson he has learned.

“If you lose your money, you have not lost anything,” Marnett said. “But if you lose your confidence, you have lost everything.”

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Holocaust survivor speaks about his life experiences