Holocaust survivor shares story of loss

Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 19:59:34-04

Agnes Schwartz was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. She was an only child of two store owners.

She said her childhood could not have been better, but her life changed when the Germans crossed into Hungary in 1944. First, the Nazis took her father away. Then, they took her mother.

"My mother kissed me goodbye and she put a big smile on her face for me and said, listen to grandma, be a good girl and I'll see you soon. And I believed her," Schwartz said.

That was the last time Schwartz ever saw her mother.

Years later, she eventually reunited with her father.  When she saw him again, she flew right into his arms.

Meanwhile back in Milwaukee, Alverno College invited Schwartz to share her story as part of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Our survivors are dying out. I am one of the younger ones, and I feel it's incumbent  upon me to speak while I still can," she said.

Those of the younger generation, like Kayla Haessler, a recent graduate of Alverno College, say it's one thing to read about the Holocaust, but hearing those personal stories is "amazing and tragic all at the same time."

Karianne Voight is a senior at Alverno College. She said the stories like Schwartz's change her outlook on life.

"With every survivor that I hear, I take away a little bit with me, and it changes me a little bit. It teaches me a lot about forgiveness for example."

Schwartz now lives in the Chicago area. She has three children, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.