“Mother, this is where we part.”
“Those who went to the left, lived. Straight ahead meant certain death.”
No matter how many Holocaust testimonials I hear, the impact of the words and emotional resonance never lessens. Asher Aud is another brave survivor of the Holocaust with a story of despair but also of triumph. Growing up in Poland, his family was forced to move into a ghetto that was established in his town. His father and older brother, Berl, were taken away. In 1942, he faced separation from more family members. After the ghetto was liquidated, the remaining Jews, including himself, his mother, and his other brother, were sent to a cemetery. When the Germans evaluated them, Asher was sent to the left because he was deemed to be strong enough to work. His mother and brother were sent to the Chelmno death camp and were killed. The thought of being just 13 years old and knowing that you were never going to see your mother or brother again, as Asher seemingly did, is an unbearable and simply impossible thought. But somehow, in the lowest moments, Asher triumphed. He worked in the Lodz ghetto. In 1944, he was sent to Auschwitz, where he was reunited with Berl. Asher says Berl gave him bread and sausage, and he credits his brother for his survival. In 1945, Asher got his immigration permit and made it a life goal to do as much as he could to help his homeland. At the end of his testimonial, Asher speaks of his wife, his children, and his many grandchildren, and he says that he couldn’t be prouder…A man who has endured unthinkable pain and suffering…and he chooses to describe his sense of pride over anything else. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson I can take away from Asher’s story- that even in the wake of pain and suffering, it is important to be thankful for what you do have, and even in the darkest times, there is light at the end of the tunnel for a brighter future. I am so grateful and in awe of people like Asher Aud, who are kind enough to share their stories and help keep the memories and experiences of all of our ancestors alive. He shows how strong the Jewish faith is and makes me that much more proud to be a part of it.