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A soldier, a survivor, a granddaughter share their stories of the Holocaust during memorial service

April 07, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • The Rev. Glenn Schultz talks about liberating the Dachau Concentration Camp Sunday during a Holocaust Memorial Service sponsored by the United Churches of the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Living skeletons hugged and kissed Glenn Schultz, and fainted at his feet, as the young man joined his Army comrades in liberating the Dachau Concentration Camp.

Schultz, now 87, shared his remembrances from 1945 with hundreds of people who packed into Congregation Sons of Israel Sunday for the 35th annual Holocaust Memorial Service sponsored by the United Churches of the Chambersburg Area.

Schultz said what he saw at Dachau “has had a lasting effect on my person ever since then.”

“We need to hear its story again and again,” said Schultz, who is pastor emeritus of Chambersburg’s St. John’s United Church of Christ.

The Holocaust Memorial Service serves as a way to remember 11 million people — six million of them Jews — killed in Nazi-orchestrated genocide, according to the Rev. William Harter, pastor emeritus of the Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring.

“We must never forget, and we must commit ourselves to the redemption of the world into the next day and day after,” he said.

The service mixed Hebrew and English, and it featured prayer, music and the lighting of candles. Eighth-grade girls from Chambersburg Area School District’s middle schools sang.

Holocaust survivor Elsbeth Schmidt, who lives at Menno Haven in Chambersburg, shared her story, saying her entire life changed starting in 1933.

Schmidt’s father was taken to a camp, where his family was initially allowed to visit once a month. He later died there.

“My mom was sent by cattle car to Auschwitz, where she died,” she said.

Schmidt, 92, struggled to learn English as she emigrated to safety in Allentown, Pa.

“I am here today so that you can understand this horrible event that shaped my life and so many others. We lost 6 million of our people, 2 1/2 million of whom were children,” she said.

Wilson College student Jessica Middleberg talked about what she learned from her grandparents who survived the Holocaust. She said her grandparents and the people who aided them taught her selflessness, unconditional love and tolerance.

“My path doesn’t take away from your path and vice versa,” she said of being tolerant.

Lori Leister of Chambersburg attended the service for the first time. She said she would recommend others attend in the future.

“It’s well worth it,” she said.

Her 17-year-old daughter, Karie Leister, visited Germany last summer and went to Dachau. She said Schultz’s recollections enhanced what she learned when visiting the camp.

“It was just an experience that made it more real,” she said.

“To hear it was just ‘wow,’” Lori Leister said.

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