Holocaust Survivor Lou Leviticus shares his experiences with LHS students
By Katie Chiplaski
In 1940, eight-year-old Lou Leviticus knew that when the Nazi’s entered his house and he escaped out the back door, he would never see his parents again.
The Holocaust was in full swing, and each day more and more people were being taken into concentration camps. While his parents were unlucky, Leviticus was fortunate enough to never get caught, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to deal with the horrors of his past. “Never give up,” Leviticus said. “As long as you’re alive, as long as you have a life ahead of you and you can do things… never give up!”
On November 7th, 2010, English Teacher Terry Keefe took his Holocaust literature class to the media center where his students listened intently to, now 80-year-old Holocaust survivor Lou Leviticus as he told them story after story about his experiences.
Keefe said “I thought getting first hand information from someone who lived through the Holocaust was valuable to help them understand what they have been reading and studying all semester.”
Senior Brooke Putty said, “Listening to him speak to us… it made me realize that the Holocaust actually happened. It’s not just something we read about in class.”
As a child Leviticus says he was a “trouble maker from the word go.” A quote from his book, “Tales From a Milestone” says “I was an only child, a spoiled brat, who had everything a boy could want. My mother apparently could not have any more children, so I had no siblings.”
He explained his adventures while he was on his own living as a Jew and how he made it past his troubles. He admitted to stealing as a younger child while he was in hiding and vows to never do it again.
He also spoke of sleeping on hay and being caught by a farmer who put him to work. He was sick, sleeping with lice, on a water heater and admits that nothing was easy, everyday was a challenge, but he did it. His job while in hiding was handing out false papers to help others survive.
Senior Felicia Dyer said, “My favorite part was when he said he was running, jumped of the railing, saw a guard and he ran… he survived.”
Senior Kadeja Sangoyele asked how he went on living. Leviticus simply answered, “Well, are you going to kill yourself? Exactly! NO! You have to find the alternative, and that’s to go on living.” He also mentioned how he went on living. “I’ve got my own family now. I’m married and I’ve got kids and I’ve got grandkids and they all know how to handle things!”
Leviticus even had something to say about the election. “Don’t not use you right to vote! Because its not only a right… it’s your duty. Same thing as having a duty to your fellows in class… to be a good friend to them. ”
Senior Eric Shulz said, “Even though he went through this [the Holocaust] he was still joking around with us.” Leviticus left everyone with some encouraging words. “Everybody can be a success in something. To be a good parent is a success. You don’t have to be a genius to success in something, or at least to feel you are. If you’re handicapped, like I am today, I am still a success. I can make you smile. I can make you laugh. That is a success. It’s a good feeling.”