Oskar Knoblauch, Holocaust Survivor

Courtney Kendall, Columnist

On March 14, students at Horizon Honors had the privilege of hearing from Holocaust survivor Oskar Knoblauch. For more than an hour, this distinguished guest shared with Horizon Honors students stories about his life during the Holocaust and the positive lessons he learned from his horrible experience. After his presentation, Mr. Knoblauch was kind enough to answer some questions about his experience and the lessons he learned.  Mr. Knoblauch shared the following thoughts during a wide-ranging interview.

The Horizon Sun: What did you learn from the Holocaust?

Oskar Knoblauch: Patience. I also realized that respect pays off. You also must have courage to survive. Finally, I learned that while some people can be terrible, you cannot lose confidence in other people.

The Horizon Sun: If the Holocaust never had happened, what career do you think you would have had?

OK: The career I would have had is an attorney. When I was young, my friends told me I was a good speaker. The first time I spoke in public I froze, but as I spoke more I got used to it.

The Horizon Sun: Why do you think Hitler only went after the Jewish people and the disabled?

OK:  Hitler picked on the Jews because there were no colored people or other minorities to pick on. Bullies like to push around people who they see as vulnerable and distrusted by many people. In Germany, the Jews were perfect targets.

The Horizon Sun: How did the Holocaust affect you?

OK: Actually, it affected me in a very positive way. It taught me to respect others and realize that most people are good at heart.

The Horizon Sun: What is your favorite thing about life today?

OK: My favorite thing about life today involves coming to schools and talking to young people. This makes me feel young myself.

Oskar Knoblauch is one of the few European Jews who survived the Holocaust and is still alive today. While this was a horrible experience, he chooses to look at it in a positive way. It is such a great opportunity for Horizon Honors students to listen to his thoughts and experiences. In doing so, this generation can learn to avoid the mistakes made by the generation that pursued the Holocaust.

Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.