Every year, usually around Yom HaShoah, which just passed, mainstream reporters write feature stories about the harrowing tales of Holocaust survivors. Invariably, those stories include an important mention: that every year the ranks of survivors shrinks, and pretty soon they’re be no one left to recount the horror of extreme hatred.
If only more survivors had the strength of Leopold Engleitner. At 103, Engleitner, a Jehovah’s Witness forced into a camp because he refused to join Hitler’s army, is the oldest known male survivor of the Holocaust. He’s speaking Thursday at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and next week at UCLA.
He will be joined by Bernhard Rammerstorfer, who told Engleitner’s story in the book, “Unbroken Will,” and documentary, “Unbroken Will USA Tour.” The documentary will be shown at the Laemmle’s Theatre Sunset 5 in West Hollywood from May 15 to 21.
“He had the strength to say no,” Rammerstorfer said by phone from Austria. “He didn’t join the army. He was only an ordinary farmer, but his story reminds people, especially young people, that they in their lives should listen to their conscience.”