#NeverMeansNever: 'To Forget would Kill the Victim a Second Time'

This year’s March of the Living has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. In its place, a wide-ranging campaign entitled ‘Never Means Never’, is being launched to combat anti-Semitism and racism.

Holding a Torah scroll, Ed Mosberg marches with his granddaughter on the March of the Living in 2018. (photo credit: MARCH OF THE LIVING)
Holding a Torah scroll, Ed Mosberg marches with his granddaughter on the March of the Living in 2018.
(photo credit: MARCH OF THE LIVING)
"To forgive or forget would mean to kill the victim a second time. We could not prevent the first death, but we must not allow the victim to be killed again.” Edward Mosberg, 94, was born in Krakow, Poland and was 13 years old when the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Mosberg, who was raised in the bosom of his family – parents, two sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – was the only family member to survive the Holocaust and has dedicated his life to preserving the memory of the tragedy.

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Mosberg’s father was killed at the beginning of the war, and in 1941 his family was taken to the Krakow ghetto. In 1944, his mother was taken in a transport from the Płaszów concentration camp near Krakow, to Auschwitz, where she was murdered in June 1944.
Mosberg and his siblings were sent to Płaszów  and to other camps, including Mauthausen. While in the Płaszów camp, Mosberg witnessed firsthand the cruel and sadistic behavior of infamous camp commandant Amon Göth. In Mauthausen, Mosberg worked in the stone mine, and carried heavy boulders from the stone quarry to the “Stairs of Death,” 186 steps to the top.
“If if you stopped for a moment, the SS would beat you or shoot you. I was there.”
Mosberg survived, and at the age of 19 moved to the United States in 1951, where, together with his wife Cesia, a fellow survivor, raised three daughters. Mosberg has six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and is one of the last living survivors of the Płaszów and Mauthausen concentration camps.
Mosberg has participated in the March of the Living with his wife, as well as with his children and grandchildren, and says that the March of the Living, which has attracted more than 300,000 participants from around the world since its inception in 1988, ensures that the Holocaust will be remembered. A passionate supporter of the project, he says that “The March of the Living is the most important organization, and they’re teaching the children. When we, the survivors will be gone, they will be here to talk about the Holocaust.”
In his visits to Poland, Mosberg has addressed participants at the March of the Living, and his emotional descriptions – which can be seen on YouTube –  of the events that he witnessed and the suffering that he endured, vividly illustrate the scope of the tragedy to participants in the March of the Living, who were born many years after the tragic events. Wearing his striped concentration camp uniform and hat, in a voice shaking with emotion, Mosberg said, “I am the only survivor.  I lost my whole family. The Germans deprived me of my youth. My children don’t know what it is to have an aunt, uncle cousin, or grandmother. For this I will not forgive. As well, I will never forget.” Standing at Auschwitz where his mother was murdered, with his granddaughter at his side, Mosberg pointed to his left, and said, “I can still see my mother waving her hands toward me. It seems like yesterday. She was murdered at Crematorium Number 5 right here on June 14, 1944.” 
Photo of Krakow ghetto (credit: Yad Vashem archives) Photo of Krakow ghetto (credit: Yad Vashem archives)
In another address, delivered at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Mosberg described the numerous times that he faced death. Recounting one occurrence when he was severely beaten by the Nazis, he displayed the type of whip that had been used, and told the audience that after the beating, the Germans had submerged his head underwater, in an attempt to drown him. Somehow, he survived. “I wish that I could tell that you the Holocaust never happened,” he said, “but it happened. I have to tell you about the atrocities and murder that were committed on our family and the six million Jews.” Solemnly, he said, “The Jews were murdered for no reason other than for being Jewish.”   
This year’s March of the Living has been cancelled due to the Corona virus that has spread throughout the world. In its place, a wide-ranging campaign entitled ‘Never Means Never’, is being launched to combat anti-Semitism and racism, teach the history of the Holocaust and inculcate values ​​of tolerance. The 2021 March is already being planned. In the meantime, though, Edward Mosberg’s words serve as vivid testimony for the need to never forget.
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Written in cooperation with the March of the Living.