After living in the Warsaw ghetto, traveling for five days in a boxcar filled with 100 people, losing his entire family and spending three years in various concentration camps during the Holocaust as a 10-year-old, Max Glauben still finds reasons to laugh.
“There is humor in every tragedy,” Glauben told a standing-room only audience at the TCU Hillel Holocaust Museum on Monday.
Glauben peppered his speech about his journey with jokes to keep the crowd at ease. Audience members were silently attentive throughout the hour-long presentation and erupted in lengthy applause at the finish.
Filled with heart-wrenching tales of loss, trauma and torture at the hands of the Nazi regime, Glauben’s story incorporated an overall history of the Holocaust as well as his own first-hand account of the event.
Glauben said it is up to new generations to make up for the “300 years of culture” that was lost in the Holocaust.
“Your generation has to study it, investigate, and then get it out to the public through books,” he said.
“What if some of these victims were like Einsten?” he asked.
Hillel is hosting the museum until Wednesday at 4 p.m. The exhibits feature dioramas of different aspects of the Holocaust, as well as photos of posters and significant events during that time period.
The museum is located on the third floor of the Brown-Lupton University Union.
Hillel president Rachel Rudberg, a second year nursing student, said she hopes students understand “it’s our job to hear [survivors’] stories to know them and tell our kids so that their stories will never be forgotten.”
Sydney Lerner, a first-year psychology major and Hillel member, said before Glauben’s speech she was excited to hear his talk as it would help spread information about the Holocaust.
“We need to keep the memory alive,” she said.
Glauben ended his speech with advice he learned not only during the Holocaust, but also as an orphan living in post-World War II America and during his time with the U.S. Armed Forces during the Korean War.
“Never, never, never give up,” Glauben said. “If you don’t succeed, keep on trying. And regardless of what you ever do in life, always do the best you can with what you have.”