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Holocaust Survivor Shares Story with Valley HS Students - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Holocaust Survivor Shares Story with Valley HS Students

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Mark Strauss speaks to students at Wilson Memorial High School Mark Strauss speaks to students at Wilson Memorial High School
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

An 84-year-old Holocaust survivor is in the Shenandoah Valley sharing his unbelievable story with children. Monday afternoon, Mark Strauss talked to hundreds of students at Wilson Memorial High School in Fishersville.

Strauss lost everyone he loved as a child in what is now Ukraine. Even though he experienced humiliation, severe physical and emotional suffering, and loss - he wants young people to know that life is worth living, no matter what you go through.

Strauss said he and his loved ones experienced extreme hunger, thirst, and hid in a hole for periods of time. He also watched as Germans came and brutally beat and thoughtlessly murdered nearly everyone in his city.

His life was spared through determination, some luck, and also the help of a Polish Catholic woman who took him into seclusion. Now, he tells his story to groups all over the U.S. and expresses himself through artwork.

"Life is worth living. So whatever problems you have today, let me assure you, I went through hell, but I will tell you very honestly, life is worth living,” said Strauss.

Strauss says, despite the darkness that overshadowed years of his adolescence, his thoughts do not revolve around the Holocaust. Strauss also made clear that he does not harbor hatred for Germans.

Monday at 7 p.m., Strauss and students at Wilson Memorial will hold a special community event in the auditorium, where a play telling a series of other Holocaust survival stories will be performed.

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