Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

After Lifetime Of Silence, Holocaust Survivor Entrusts His Story To New Generation

Michal Lotzkar
Michal Lotzkar and her father, Arieh Engleberg, at his parents' gravesite in Nesher, Israel.

After World War Two, when millions of Jews and other groups were murdered by the Nazis, the world made a promise: Never forget. But soon, the generation that remembers firsthand, the people who survived, will be gone.

Credit Courtesy of Michal Lotzkar
Arieh Engelberg (far right), with his brothers and parents, in 1950.

That was on Michal Lotzkar’s mind when she heard her father Arieh Engelberg tell his story of survival for the first time — to staffers from Seattle's Holocaust Center for Humanity -- at age 80.

“Holocaust survivors are fading away,” said Lotzkar, who lives in Kirkland.

So she made a decision: She would learn her father’s story while she still has him, and take responsibility for telling it.

“I’m afraid of him dying, not only because he’s my dad and I love him so much, also because he will take with him this history. And then when I want to know about a detail, or I want him to retell a story to me, who will be there to tell those stories? So it’s up to me,” Lotzkar said.

Now Lotzkar tells her father’s story to student groups and museum visitors, carrying the memories forward for a new generation. And she says the process of passing the torch also brought out a new kind of intimacy between her and her father, as she came to understand him in ways she never could before.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.