November 30, 2017
Irving Roth said he didn’t understand why he was at Auschwitz.
“Why was I there? What crime did I commit?” the Holocaust survivor said as the audience sat in silence.
About 500 students came out to hear Roth speak at the Reitz Union Auditorium on Wednesday night. About 350 students were able to watch Roth speak in the auditorium, while the rest were taken to an overflow room to watch the speak from a Facebook Live video.
“My crime was a very simple one,” Roth said. “I was a 14-year-old Jew. My parents were Jewish. My grandparents were Jewish.”
Roth told his story of survival after he was transported to Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp, as a teenager. As he spoke, Roth made jokes about his childhood and his experiences with American soldiers after being freed from the concentration camp. As he spoke, the audience laughed with him, or at later parts of his speech, wiped away tears.