Holocaust survivor passes away

Holocaust survivor passes away

Selzer is embraced by students from the class of ’95 after speaking about his experiences. He passed away at the age of 100.

Grace Kim, Online Chief

Georges Selzer lived to the legendary age of 100.

Selzer was one of the Holocaust speakers who first visited JC in the 1970’s to speak about his experiences.  The last time he visited was five years ago at the age of 95.

Selzer, though he came to speak at JC, was not a part of the Baltimore Jewish Council, with whom senior project coordinator Louise Geczy organizes speakers to come and share their Holocaust experiences to seniors.  .

Selzer was an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor.  He watched his parents be dragged out of his house by the Gestapo and experienced his brother die in his arms at Auschwitz.

“He was small in stature, but not lacking in courage,” Miller said.  “On one occasion he saw a German officer brutalizing a helpless inmate.  Georges lost his temper and struck the officer, knocking him to the ground.  His head hit a rock and he died.  Georges was to be hanged the following morning during the night.”

However, Russian troops were nearing the camp and all of the inmates were forced to march miles to another camp. Word of Selzer’s sentence luckily did not reach the new camp’s commander. According to Miller, this convinced Georges that he was destined to survive.

“I have heard Georges tell JC students many times over the years, ‘I did not hate my captors, I pitied them.  You have to be taught to hate and I never learned it,’” Miller said.

Paaby has heard Selzer speak at JC before.  According to Paaby, a part of Selzer’s personality that made him unique was that “he was at peace with himself and the things he had been through, though his story was about horrible things,” Paaby said.

“When Mr. Selzer spoke, he’d put it in perspective and say that it [the Holocaust] was in the past though he would never forget it.  He was always fairly composed and he wasn’t distracted by his emotions.”

“Gerorges attributed his longevity to the fact that he held no grudges.  He has forgiven them long ago,” Miller said.

Miller attended a memorial service for Selzer on Oct. 21.  Selzer died of natural causes.

Grace Kim is the Online Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.