HIGH POINT -- A High Point man who survived the Holocaust in his native Poland shared his story with News 14 Carolina on Wednesday, decades after Nazi soldiers took control of his home town and decimated its Jewish population.
"They came in with scythes and sickles and they killed the Jews on the street," said Hank Brodt, 82.
Brodt speaks with great emotion about the day in 1941 when German soldiers gave Ukrainian troops free rein over the Jews in the Polish town of Boryslaw. Brodt says the Ukrainians slaughtered more than 150 Jews that day.
He recounted this and many other experiences to an audience of teachers at Forsyth Technical Community College on Wednesday.
"I was trying to hide rather than to put myself in the open, seeing and being part of the dead persons," said Brodt.
Brodt recalls a day in September, 1943, when he and his mother were among thousands of Jews who were herded to the town's train depot.
"At the railroad station there were cattle cars set up," he said. "The ones who had to go to the left went into the cattle car and the ones who went to the right, they were kept alive."
His mother was among 5,000 Jews packed into cattle cars, never to be seen again.
Not long after, his only sister was killed at the hands of the Nazis, but Brodt says he never gave up hope that the nightmare would end.
"You always live hoping that something will go away and maybe a miracle will happen, that you will survive," said Brodt.
He kept the memories inside for decades until coming to High Point where he became a member of Temple Emanuel. He says he was encouraged by rabbis Fred Guttman and Andy Koren to share his experiences.
Brodt has since visited Poland and Israel twice as part of the March of the Living program, which educates young people about the Holocaust to be a spokesman for the people who died in vain and cannot reveal this story, he said.
He says it is important for Holocaust survivors to remind the world of man's inhumanity to man.
"To make sure that something like this, regardless of whether they're Jews, Muslims or other people who are being killed should not happen again," Brodt said.