An Afternoon with Cantor Leo Fettman
Holocaust Survivor Shares Experiences
by Greg Brousek
What would it be like to visit with someone that participated in a historical event that you have only read about in history books?
Students, as well as members of the community, were able to personalize history recently as Cantor Leo Fettman, along with his wife Annette, spent an afternoon sharing his experiences and answering questions about the Holocaust. Freshman, Juniors and many of the Seniors spent over an hour visiting with the couple.
Besides our own students, students from Heartland Christian, Mead, Prague and Wahoo were in attendance. Adults from Cedar Bluffs, Fremont, Prague and Wahoo also were in the audience to further expand their knowledge of this unbelievable event in our world's history.
In 1944, Fettman and his family were forcibly taken from their Hungarian home by the Nazis and told they would never return. The family was held in a ghetto. Later, the family would be transported via boxcar to Auschwitz where most of Fettman�s family was murdered. He survived the medical experiments of Dr. Josef Mengele, a bungled attempted by the SS to hang him, and a series of forced labor camps.
Fettman shared some of his experiences with the audience. He described what it was like in the boxcar as his family was transported to Auschwitz. Fettman also described his time working at the crematorium. Fettman also shared what life was like in ghettos , labor camps, and concentration camps.
Emigrating to Canada in 1948 and moving to the United States in 1960, Fettman spends a majority of his time traveling around the area visiting with various school groups and civic organizations. He shares his story of survival against unimaginable odds and terrible conditions in a way that inspires his listeners of various ages.
"I thought he was very inspiring," said Danielle '08. "It is really hard to believe that people can be so cruel. I can�t imagine how hard it was to live through something like that."
Recently, Fettman took time to reflect upon his life's experiences in a book entitled SHOAH: Journey from the Ashes. Students were able to purchase the book following the session. Over thirty students purchased the text. If anyone would like to purchase a book, please contact Mr. Brousek.