Holocaust survivor Manny Mandel visits WJ

Zachary Meyers, Sports Editor

Eastern Europe during the 1930s and 1940s was a tough time for Jewish families. Holocaust survivor Manny Mandel’s life was no exception, and he shared his story with students this week at WJ during fourth period and at lunch. Mandel grew up in Hungary, where anti-Jewish laws requiring all Jewish people to wear the yellow star of David were issued in 1938. At the time, Mandel thought the star was a sign of great honor, but these stars signified much worse to the point his father was scared to leave his son out of sight at the fear of him being attacked because of the yellow star.

Mandel was considered lucky with his time during the war. They were sent to a concentration camp; however, he and many other Hungarian Jews were a part of a deal made by Adolf Heichmann, a major organizer of the Holocaust for Nazi Germany, where they would be traded for trucks and goods in return for their freedom. Mandel was sent to Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp — Mandel being a part of this exchange wasn’t required to be in the labor camps. After six months, the exchange went down and Mandel was transported to neutral Switzerland, surviving the terrible Holocaust, where he tells his fascinating story of Eastern Europe during WWII.

“Mandel’s story was really fascinating. What he went through at such a young age is inspirational and I can’t believe that happened,” junior Jack Danco said.