Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story At Faith Family Church
SIOUX FALLS, SD- “What is your number?”
This is more than just a number for Irving Roth. It was his identity for almost a year when he was captured by the Nazis in the Spring of 1944.
“250 members of the Gestapo are shipped to Budapest and organized a deportation of 437,000 Jews in 53 days to Auschwitz. I am one of those Jews,” says Holocaust Survivor Irving Roth.
Irving was 14 years old when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz, which is considered the most dangerous concentration camp during the Holocaust.
Roth recalls, “I’m in a cattle car with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, along with another 90-100 people for three days and three nights.”
Once they entered the camp, one of the first things Irving and his cousin noticed was smoke in the sky. This smoke also had a distinct smell that Irving will never forget.
“If you were to take some feathers and burn them, it’s that kind of almost sweet but very unpleasant odor,” explains Roth.
Irving was part of the Slave Labor Camp. He was rescued by the Americans on April 11th, 1945, after being in the camp for almost a year. Now he shares his story across the country through “Christians United For Israel.”
The Faith Family Church in Sioux Falls partnered with the group to bring awareness of the Holocaust and bring Irving here.
“It’s vitally important that this (Holocaust) passion is captured by young people. That they see it too. He (Irving) has a program which connect young people to a holocaust survivor,” says Pastor Lyndon Allen of C.U.F.I.
Irving’s mother and father were also rescued, however he lost his older brother. His message to the congregation is one of survival and having the will to live.
“The hope that you’ll survive and maybe someone else in the family survives and you’ll be able to start all over again,” says Roth
Irving also has a book about his time in Auschwitz titled “Bondi’s Brother.” He and “Christians United For Israel” hope to continue to educate people about the holocaust, especially the youth.