Knox Middle School Students Learn About Life in a Concentration Camp
Manfred Katz, 83, spoke to 8th grade students at Knox Middle School about his experiences in Nazi concentration camps.
Katz and his sister survived the Holocaust. Katz and his parents, who were Jewish, were deported to Latvia where they worked in the ghetto while guarded by Hitler’s troops. Katz was separated from his parents and sent to a concentration camp, where he reconnected with an uncle. He worked six days a week for 10-12 hours a day. Many people were dying of starvation and illness. Katz was later moved to a concentration camp in Poland. That camp was eventually evacuated and the 700 prisoners walked westward for two months. By the time the American and the British troops liberated the concentration camps, Katz was 17 years old and weighed 65 pounds.
Katz never found his parents but was eventually reunited with his sister in the United States. Katz now lives in Statesville, NC with his wife and travels to area schools to share his story. Katz told the students that they are now “witnesses to the world.” He encouraged the students to act to make this a better world. He also encouraged them not to be bystanders. “When you see things going wrong it is your duty to speak out in some capacity to stop that type of injustice.” Katz was invited to Knox Middle by Dawn Hennessey, an 8th grade ELA teacher. Students were studying the Holocaust through the book, The Devil’s Arithmetic. She invited Katz to speak to put a face to what they were studying in class.