CHICAGO (CBS) — Monday marks 77 years since Kristallnacht, the Nazi rampage that many consider the beginning of the Holocaust. At the age of 86, a Holocaust survivor in Chicago has just written a book about his ordeal.
“I am still around to tell about it. I’m a first-hand witness,” said Israel Starck, who was just 14 years old when the Nazis occupied his East European town, and put him and his family on cattle cars to the Auschwitz death camp.
Upon his arrival at Auschwitz, Starck was separated from his mother and sisters, and would have been sent to the gas chamber, if not for the kindness of a fellow prisoner.
“He said, ‘Little boy, how old are you?’ And I says, ’14.’ And he says, ‘You’re not 14, you’re 18.’ And I even tried to argue with him. I says, ‘Why should I be 18 if I’m 14?’ And then he says, ‘Little boy, here you do not ask any questions. If I tell you you’re 18, then you’re 18,'” Starck said.
His new book, “A Boy Named 68818,” is aimed at children and young adults. The title refers to the number the Nazis gave him when they took away everything, even his name.