PAGE UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING OCTOBER 6, 2015 11 A.M.
Teacher to share visit to Auschwitz at Osgood Public Library
“My Trip to Auschwitz” will be presented at no charge tonight [Oct. 6] at 6 p.m. at the Osgood Public Library. Retired teacher Charles Moman will share his thoughts, experiences and photos of his visits to the death camps. A visit to a Holocaust museum in Terre Haute three years ago made a lasting impression on a music teacher.
After Charles Moman of Seymour visited the Holocaust Museum and Education Center and met with founder Eva Mozes Kor, an actual survivor of the Auschwitz camp, he decided to see the infamous concentration camp himself. He did so under the personal guidance of Kor, one of the few survivors left.
The retired teacher will share his travel story tonight, October 6, at the Osgood Public Library at 6 p.m. There is no charge to hear and see (photos) of one of history’s darkest periods. Moman has made the free presentation several times in the region. Also a workshop music minister, he did so at his hometown library, where his wife works, and word spread among other librarians, churches, etc. It is one way to keep the horrible story alive and preserve history. “As Eva Kor said, you are now a witness to it and you have an obligation to share,” Moman said.
Pictured left, Holocaust survivor Eva Kor points to a picture of herself as a girl at the Auschwitz concentration camp. The famous photo was taken on Liberation Day Jan. 27, 1945. She is with Charles Moman who toured the camp with her on the 70th anniversary of liberation and will speak about his experience at the Osgood Public Library tonight.
Kor, 81, was one of 1,500 sets of twins that entered the camp from 1942-until late 1944, and one of just 200 that survived. In 1984, she and her twin sister created CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiment Survivors) to make contact with other twins who suffered the experiments of Dr. Josef Mengele. Moman is a twin himself and has other twins in his family. He believes that had he been born a generation earlier in Poland, France, Germany or other countries where Jews were deported to the camps, it could have been him under the knife of the infamous surgeon.
A fraternal twin, he told Kor he thought Mengele only wanted identical twins. “She leaned in to me and said , ‘Oh Charles, Dr. Mengele would have loved to have you.’ It gave me chills.” He became immersed in everything about the Holocaust while recovering from a near fatal automobile accident in March, 2014, and saw Kor’s documentary once again. That piqued his interest, and he soon learned about the tour she was putting together. He had to go, and figured the opportunity to see the camp with a survivor and an actual Mengele twin would make the experience personal and unique. It did.
With 70 others from 18 states, he spent 8 hours at Auschwitz, and was amazed at the pure size of the place. “It was cold and snowy when we were there, and it looked much like World War II did from photos. Not much color,” he said of the Poland camps. “All roads led to Auschwitz and if they didn’t go to Auschwitz they went to one of the other five death camps in Poland,” he told the Seymour Tribune. The camps had smaller brick buildings, much like a college campus. Birkenau was 10 times larger on 500 acres, with just the remains of building foundations left. “You can’t comprehend the incomprehensible,” Moman said, still in amazement at what happened 70 years ago. It was an emotional journey. He talked to other survivors he met who were touring as well. One man he met from Poland was 17 when he entered the camp. “I asked him how many of his family members died, and he stopped, took a breath, and he whispered, ‘Everyone’,” Moman said. “Nothing could be more personal than that. I was stunned. That one moment was why I went.” Eva Kor pointed out the autopsy table on Block 10. “Right here is what Dr. Mengele did to me and my sister she told me,” Moman said. He returned in the summer, on his own tour for two weeks, and took a train ride to Treblinka and Krakow, just as most of the Jewish people had over 70 years ago. He took thousands of photos at Auschwitz and the other labor camps, gaining access many other visitors did not have. “Three fourths of European Jews were killed,” he said of the tragic numbers.
A presentation at the Osgood library will feature those telling scenes. “It’s intriguing and I’m saddened by all of it,” the 64-year-old said. It’s something that should not be forgotten, nor ever happen again.