More to the Story with Staley: Holocaust Survivor

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — One of the horrors of World War Two was the Holocaust. One man who survived the Holocaust was just in Chattanooga, and what a story he has to tell.

World War Two showed us the worst of mankind, as the death camps in Europe took the lives of some six million Jews.

This man survived. He was only four years old at the time. Michael Bornstein didn’t talk about it for over 70 years.

“I was ashamed of the difficulties I had gone through,” said Bornstein. “Basically, I wanted to hide my tattoo.”

Yes, his tattoo. It’s there as a reminder, every minute of the day. But Michael Bornstein is talking about his experience now. He, along with his daughter Debbie.

He is traveling the country and making stops all over, such as this one at the Convention Center in Chattanooga.

The goal is to educate, as well as talk about what he remembers.

“I remember a few things. I remember the Nazis shouting at me. I remember the smell of burning bodies. And I remember looking in trash cans for something to eat,” Bornstein said.

“It’s hard for me because it’s my Dad,” Debbie Bornstein-Holinstat said. “He’s Papa to my kids. He’s a normal Papa. It’s hard for me to connect that happy, thriving man for someone who went through a trash can looking for potato peels.”

Michael Bornstein is 82 years old now. He says he feels like 39! Daughter Debbie says she’s so proud of him for now finally talking, and reminding people of what went down so long ago.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a better time in modern history to remind people what happened, when bigotry and hatred are ignored,” Debbie said. “The Holocaust didn’t start with burning bodies. It started with jokes about the Jews. It’s important, look what happened.”

Michael and Debbie wrote a book about his journey. They say they’ll continue to share the story of a little boy who made it out of Auschwitz alive.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News, More To The Story With Staley