More than 400 Auschwitz survivors still live in, and around, Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Holocaust Survivors group, based in Las Vegas, sponsors education luncheons, scholarships and other activities throughout the year.
When a former SS member and Auschwitz guard was sentenced to prison recently, persons in Las Vegas, Nevada took notice.
Over seventy years have passed since Russian soldiers liberated Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz, the largest Nazi killing machine in Europe.
There are roughly 400 Holocaust survivors living in the Las Vegas Valley. One, Alexander Kuechel, was fourteen-years-old when the Nazis began their campaign of terror on November 9, 1939. That night would become known as “Kristallnacht,” or “The Night of Broken Glass.”
Kuechel watched Hitler’s rise to power and was sent to seven concentration camps. Kuechel never gave up and when he was liberated in 1945, someone asked him how he survived. “Luck, luck, luck,” was his reply.
Ann Jenner’s family was not as lucky. Fiver of her aunts and uncles were killed as were two grandparents. Jenner, along with two brothers, a sister and both parents went into hiding in Holland. The Jenners eventually made their way to America where all the children — along with two more born after the war — still live.
Miriam carries painful memories of the way. The Nazis murdered many of her family members. Her father, a member of the French resistance, fought against the Nazis. Captured, he was sent to a work camp before being shipped to Auschwitz where he died.
Hanning was sentenced to five years’ behind bars because of the part he played at Auschwitz.
Hanning’s trial, which lasted four-months in Detmold, Germany, included witnesses giving accounts of the conditions they faced while corralled behind razor wire.
Prosecutors illuminated the part Hanning played as he was responsible for prisoner selection. Hanning determined which were fit for slave labor and which would go to the gas chambers. Hanning also knew about the regular mass shootings in addition to the systematic starvation of prisoners.
For Holocaust survivors and descendants of Auschwitz’s’ inmates, the 94-year-old’s trial was a “big, though late, step to a just examination of the mass murders.”
“No one in my family knew I was at Auschwitz,” Hanning told the court. “I could not talk about it. I was ashamed.”
Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada hosts luncheons during the year and welcomes guests to numerous Holocaust remembrance functions it sponsors.
P.O. Box 371434
Las Vegas, NV 89137