Holocaust Survivor To Speak At U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Ernie Gross was 15 when he was deported from his native Romania to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi extermination camp in Poland where over 1.1 million people were murdered.  On February 3, he will share his story with local teachers and students at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle.

In line for selection, where Jews were either chosen for slave labor or sent directly to the gas chambers, a Polish inmate saved his life.  “He asked me how old I was and I said 15.  He said by the time I got to the end of the line I’d better be 17 if I wanted to live.”  When he got there, Ernie lied about his age and was spared from death.

Ernie endured a year in the camps, marching barefoot in the snow, carrying heavy bags of cement, surviving on starvation rations.  As the Allies closed in on Auschwitz, Ernie and more than 56,000 prisoners were marched west, away from the advancing Soviets.  They marched without adequate food or clothing in sub-zero temperatures.  Somewhere between 9,000 and 15,000 prisoners died or were shot for falling behind on the way.

Ernie persevered and reached Dachau in Bavaria, Germany.  There, he survived additional months of starvation and brutality.  He had reached the end of his endurance when he was rescued by the arrival of the U.S. Army on April 29, 1945.

In the years that followed, Ernie regained his hope through acts of generosity.

The event is sponsored by the Army Heritage Center Foundation with the support of the Stabler Foundation.  “The Soldiers who liberated the camps are important witnesses to the atrocities of the Holocaust,” says Foundation Education Director Jeff Hawks.  “This program is part of our efforts to share the stories of survivors and liberators with a broad audience of students, teachers, and the general public.”

For more information, contact the Army Heritage Center Foundation at 717-258-1102 or eddirector@armyheritage.org.

9th Annual Reenactor Recruitment Day

Have you ever wondered how reenactors and living historians started their hobby?  Do you have questions about the day-to-day lives of Soldiers throughout history?  If you are interested in the stories of Soldiers, join the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center for the 9th Annual Reenactor Recruitment Day! Experience military reenacting and living history up close and personal on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM in USAHEC’s Visitor and Education Center.

This free event is open to the public and will feature dozens of different living history organizations including over three hundred reenactors from all periods of U.S. Army and world military history.  This year, USAHEC will feature musical performances along with historical fiction author meet-and-greet booths. Reenactor Recruitment Day is not only a great outing for kids and history aficionados alike, it also serves as an opportunity for reenactors to meet with members of other living history organizations and discuss aspects of historical presentation/interpretation.

Reenactor Recruitment Day features hundreds of living historians representing Soldiers and other service members.  From pikemen and swordsmen of the 16th century, through Civil War cavalry, to Desert Storm medics, just about every Army time period is represented. The event will also include allied and adversary units. Reenactors will be in period dress and have table displays where they will be available to answer any questions, talk about their equipment and materials, discuss their upcoming activities, and highlight the importance of reenacting as a way to keep history alive. Come to USAHEC to experience history, live!

The 9th Annual Reenactor Recruitment Day is free and open to the public, including children of all ages. There will also be a huge used book sale in two locations this year: In front of the store all weekend and a special collection located in the Café area Friday and Saturday only. Hours for the book sale are Friday, Feb. 7th 12pm -4:30 pm; Saturday, Feb. 8th 10am-4:30pm; Sunday, Feb. 9th -12pm–4:30pm.

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