WWII Veteran Shares Firsthand Accounts

WWII Veteran Shares Firsthand Accounts Photo

Tenth-grade students couldn’t look away as Mr. Bernhard Storch, a 95-year-old World War II veteran and concentration camp liberator, shared vivid details from his harrowing years as a young adult in Europe.

The only survivor of his immediate family, Mr. Storch was born in Poland and left in 1939 at the urging of his mother.

“No one expected a war in 1939,” he told the students, who are currently studying World War II as part of their global history and geography and Advanced Placement European history classes. “I never saw my mother again.”

Mr. Storch went on to recount the horrifying acts he witnessed and lived through, including the brutal murder of his infant cousin by a Nazi soldier, his arrest by the KGB, time in a central Siberia labor camp and later enlistment in the Polish army. During that time, he helped liberate four extermination camps.

After the war, Mr. Storch moved to the United States, arriving in New York in April of 1947 with his wife of now 75 years, Ruth.

“I thought it was impossible that people could do these things,” he said. “I survived the war, but it was not pretty. Wars are an ugly thing.”