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Holocaust survivor shares experiences with Martin County students

Louis Schneider intends to tell story for as long as he's able
Posted at 8:26 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 11:33:24-05

STUART, Fla. — People in the Jewish community are in the midst of Hanukkah celebrations.

After retiring and relocating to Florida in 2000, Louis Schneider worked with the Holocaust Documentation Center in Miami and the Holocaust Museum in Washington. His goal is to continue to tell his story as long as he is able.

As families gather together, many are reflecting on a darker piece of Jewish history — the Holocaust.

Next year will mark 77 years since the Jewish people were liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp, as the Nazis killed more than 1 million people during World War II.

Now one survivor is taking time this holiday season to share his story of perseverance to the younger generations in Martin County schools.

Schneider, 87, was born in Belgium in 1934 when later the Nazi regime would take over.

According to an article by Martin County High School, after his father was shipped to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, he — along with his mother and sister — tried to evade the enemy throughout Belgium, Southern France and Northern Italy.

After the war and miraculously being reunited with his father, the Schneider family immigrated to the United States in 1948.

They became naturalized citizens in 1954 and resided in New York. Mr. Schneider studied Biochemistry and Microbiology as an undergraduate and graduate student, performing work with the U.S. Military.

He then earned his doctorate degree and practiced international trade law, representing many German companies. Besides English, Schneider is fluent in French, Italian and German.

When asked about speaking with students, Schneider said he doesn't particularly enjoy doing the speeches, but knows how important it is for him to share his story to younger generations.

"I go into detail to bring across what discrimination creates and, very often, the classes I speak to have groups of kids who are either immigrants themselves or are first-generation after dealing with parents who are immigrants," said Schneider.

Many survivors of the Holocaust have since passed, so events like these are priceless in preserving their history.

"They get a degree of kinship from my talking," said Schneider. "It helps them also gives an idea to the true Americans. It gives them an understanding of what immigrants have gone through and problems of just plain survival."

Schneider visited Martin County High School on Wednesday and Jensen Beach High School, as well as South Fork High School, in mid-November.