Holocaust survivor in suburban Skokie expressed their opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning Syrian refugees indefinitely and temporarily suspending immigration of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
At an event at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Fritzie Fritzshall and Aaron Elster shared their personal stories in the hopes of putting a spotlight on the president’s banning of immigrants and refugees from certain countries.
The museum’s mission and motto is “Remember the Past, Transform the Future.”
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“The Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of those who were lost and by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice and indifference,” its website reads.
For survivors like Elster and Fritzshall, that mission is personal.
“We survivors know what it is like to be put upon, to be isolated, to be ultimately eliminated,” Elster said Thursday. “They died of disease, they died of hunger and I observed all of that.”
Elster said his parents and his 6-year-old sister died in the Holocaust. He said he survived by living in an attic in Poland for two years.
Fritzshall said news of the executive order made her feel as if she were back in time—when she was at the now infamous Auschwitz concentration camp.
“Hunger came back to me,” she said.
She said she remembered facing the cold, immigration lines and not being able to leave the country.
“Because nobody would accept the Jews,” she added.
Fritzshall and Elster say that by speaking out, they are not trying to make a political statement, they just want to make sure that immigrants are treated with respect.