Holocaust survivor urges Arizonans to fight hate, racism to prevent repeat atrocities

Oskar Knoblauch is a Holocaust survivor, and his mission is to get people to speak up when they see anyone being bullied or harassed.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:29 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It’s one of the worst stories in world history — the attempted extermination of the Jewish people by Hitler and Nazi Germany during World War II. More than six million Jews were murdered, along with millions of other innocent victims.

Oskar Knoblauch is a Holocaust survivor. The 97-year-old has devoted his life to educating people about what happened so it never happens again. “The Holocaust didn’t start with bullets or the gas chamber,” said Knoblauch. “Unfortunately, it started with words, with lies that created hate, and hate is the creator of the Holocaust.” On Friday, Knoblauch spoke to visitors at the Arizona Jewish Historical Society in Phoenix as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

An exhibit has been set up that walks guests through the history of the Holocaust and how it started and ended. “It’s not just a Jewish thing, the Holocaust, anybody can be a victim of something like this, regardless of race, religion, gender or culture,” said Dr. Lawrence Bell, Executive Director of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society. “The thing you have to understand is that something like the Holocaust, genocide, the mass murder of innocent people can happen anywhere.”

Part of the Holocaust exhibit includes a virtual reality experience, where anyone can ask Knoblauch about his life and what he went through. The Holocaust survivor also discusses concerns today, with hate crimes on the rise and an increase in lies and propaganda across the country.

His mission is to get people to speak up when they see anyone being bullied or harassed. “If we do nothing, if we let it grow, anti-semitism and hatred will grow where we would not be able to control it anymore,” said Knoblauch. “That’s how it happened with the Nazis.”

The Holocaust exhibit is open to the public and will run through August. For more details, visit https://www.azjhs.org/.