'Determined to Survive'
Stuart Ferster shares the Holocaust story of his father, Chaim Ferster, with us.
Chaim was born 1922 into a large, orthodox Jewish family and raised in the Polish town of Sosnowiec. He was 17 in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. At the suggestion of a relative, he learnt to fix sewing machines - meaning he was classified as a mechanic – a trade useful to the Germans.
All Jews were under threat after 1939. Chaim luckily avoided being taken away by the Nazis in 1942. At the age of 20, in 1943, Chaim was forced from his home by the Nazis and subsequently cheated death in eight Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He witnessed mass executions, children crying for their murdered parents and bodies being burnt – and survived death marches. He lost most of his family in the Holocaust including his mother, father and two sisters. His sister Manya was the only other member of his family to survive.
The story is suitable for adults and year 9 students and above. The story includes some graphic details and is told in an “as it was” manner.
Stuart Ferster spent over 40 years working with his father. Stuart retired from his main business interests in 2014 and now spends most of his time in a family business specialising in support services, marketing and software development. He also spent
many years helping his father educate people about the Holocaust and the horrors of war. Stuart strongly feels the mantle of his father and wants to ensure that neither the stories of the Holocaust nor the lessons from it are forgotten.