Edit 2: Thank you all again for the great questions and kind words. I wish I could answer all 7,000+ questions! If you're in the Miami area feel free to come visit me and say hi at the Holocaust Memorial. I am there on Tuesdays, but not every week! Goodnight Reddit, and thanks for shooting this to the front page, I hope this gives everyone a little more perspective on life :-)

Edit 1: THANK YOU ALL FOR THE QUESTIONS!! I'll try to get to as many as possible today. I love you all.

My short bio: My name is Henry Flescher. I was born in Vienna, Austria on March 14, 1924. I am a Survivor and I'm now living in Aventura, Florida. I spend time volunteering at the Miami Holocaust Memorial and also speak at schools in the Miami area. I have two wonderful daughters, three grandchildren (one of whom is helping me with this AMA today), and one great grandchild. I'm happy to be alive today, and more than happy to answer any questions you may have!

My Proof: http://www.maletphoto.com/Events/Holocaust-Museum-20th-Anniv/i-X5ZV9Tp/




More proof! http://imgur.com/xS3CYRL

Comments: 8849 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

beautyberry14311 karma

I am a pre service history and English teacher. What is something you'd want all teachers to talk about when teaching their students about the Holocaust?

Im_a_Survivor_1771535562 karma

They need to tell story as it is. You cannot shy away from history and its brutality. We usually learn about history through books, but this is an event that happened in my lifetime, I witnessed it, and I am still alive today to discuss it. Soon, there will not be any survivors left. I am 92. Once all the survivors are gone, the skeptics will probably come into the picture unfortunately. And that is why we need to educate everyone about what really happened. It didn't happen 500 years ago. It happened in my lifetime.


Hey Mr. Flescher. What did your moment of liberation feel like? The day you got to leave the camps and start a normal life again. Did you ever feel like that day would come? My great grandfather was one of the soldiers who liberated the camps after the war was lost and I've always been curious what emotions the prisoners felt.

EDIT: I meant to write when the war was won, not lost. I had a brain fart and I'm sorry.

Im_a_Survivor_1771534858 karma

I didn't know it. I didn't understand. I was on another death march at the time from Altenburg to Waldenburg. I managed to slip away and hide in a chicken coop along the way and at that time the American convoy was advancing. I saw an American tank and an American soldier and thought he was going to kill me because I didn't know the uniform. I still left the coop and went up to them, because at that time I could barely stand up and weighed about 70 pounds. I was liberated on April 11.

I didn't know that day would come. I was very sick when I was liberated and could barely eat, talk, or walk.

rainqueen2206 karma

Do you mark or celebrate your liberation day in any way?

Im_a_Survivor_1771536163 karma

I have two birthdays. March 14th, and April 11th.

DeeHairDineGot781 karma

Well, I'm a little bit early, but Happy Rebirthday!

Im_a_Survivor_177153924 karma

thank you!

YuviManBro172 karma

How old were you, if you don't mind me butting in to the other person's question?

Im_a_Survivor_17715360 karma

I was born in 1924, and was a prisoner in 1942. So I was 18. And I was 21 when I was liberated.

jumpup2276 karma

what was the ride to the camp like, were you aware of what awaited you, and if not when did you realize ?

Im_a_Survivor_1771534790 karma

I was first sent to Drancy, a transit camp. I was then transported in a cattle car packed with people with no food or water and one bucket in the middle to use as a toilet. I was 16 18 at the time. The smell was unfathomable.

After six days in the train the train came to stop. The guards started to count men. They selected 300 men. I was number 298. We were taken off the train. The train then continued on its way to Auschwitz and everyone was killed. I will never forget the number 298.

DeeHairDineGot991 karma

Why did they take 300 off? Why not just kill everyone? Also, so sorry for what you've had to go through in your life, but glad you're here with us through it all.

JoelTheSuperior1781 karma

My guess is that the 300 they took off were selected to do work for them. They only needed 300 workers so the rest were sent off to be killed.

Im_a_Survivor_1771532655 karma

They took 300 men off the train to work in a shoe factory in Ohrdruf. After about four weeks I was transferred to Peiskretscham where I helped build bridges. After a few months there I was then transferred to Blechhammer. It was there that my name became 177153. Blechhammer was hell. Punishments were a daily routine and my front teeth were knocked out here. I was there during the winter. One time we had to stand for several hours and one person couldn't contain their urine and peed on himself. The man was hanged. After about two years at Blechhammer we went on a death march to Gross Rosen. Buchenwald was the next camp. Then altenberg and waldenburg. This is a brief timeline!

flatcoke786 karma

Did anyone die midway in the six day train ride with no food/ water?

EDIT: I'm by no means doubting, just asking a question. As someone has mentioned below, you CAN survive without water for about a week.

Im_a_Survivor_1771531416 karma

I cannot recall anyone dying during that journey. But everyone was killed soon thereafter.

p56332132 karma

Hi Mr. Flescher,

Thanks for doing this AMA, it will be interesting.

I know multiple people who survived the holocaust. The founding rabbi of my synagogue survived by switching lines from the one going to the showers to the work line. So my question is, how did you make it through such horror?

Im_a_Survivor_1771534438 karma

Everyday you think of living. We are born to die, but I appreciate life. We live day by day, and I always say: yesterday is history, today's reality, and tomorrow's a dream.

Vitriol7611968 karma

From what I've been told of how systematic the processes were for killing and dehumanizing victims such as your self, those camps and the men who designed them were nothing short of pure evil. So my question is regarding the Nazis who were stationed there and tasked with executing these horrible plans. Given the number of Germans that it must have taken to staff one of these camps (let alone all of them) it is statistically improbable that every last one of them was a psychopath.

My question is this: What did you make of the "normal" soldiers who were ordered to carry this out? Did you ever see any of them show any signs of regret or reluctance for what they did? Did you get the chance to see how they rationalized the things that took place in the camps?

Im_a_Survivor_1771533516 karma

I never saw signs of regret. I cannot recall ever seeing or knowing any "normal" soldiers.

ARKdb1840 karma

Thank you for this AMA. My grandparents are both survivors. Grandfather was from Warsaw and liberated at Auschwitz. Grandmother was luckily hid by a German family in a sub-basement along with her parents and sister. She suffered many gunshot wounds while running. My grandfather sadly past away 12 years ago but I was always very proud of what he made of himself knowing where he came from.

That said here is my question for you, from my 86 year old grandmother: "Is he single?"

Im_a_Survivor_1771531754 karma

I got divorced after 49 and a half years of marriage. We still talk to each other once in a while. I now have a girlfriend, and I'm very happy. My ex-wife got remarried shortly after the divorce to a family friend. I never stayed single for too long! My ex-wife was also hidden during the Holocaust with a christian family.

vegansaul1706 karma

Hi Mr. Flescher, my grandparent were killed in the holocaust, luckily they sent my Dad to Palestine, later Israel. My question: Were all the guards terrible or did any of the guards show any humanity or compassion?

Im_a_Survivor_1771533153 karma

The soldiers were doing their job, and I cannot recall any compassion from any soldier.

-Maaron1671 karma

Might be a stupid question but I'm going for it. Did you believe in a god before? And do you believe in one now?

Im_a_Survivor_1771534325 karma

I have always believed in god. Before and after. God didn't kill the people, the Nazi's did.

zoombazoo1549 karma

Have you watched any movies about the Holocaust or would that be difficult?

Im_a_Survivor_1771533393 karma

I have watched most of them. I don't find it difficult to watch because I went through it. I've seen it all. I still remember a friend of mine who was hanged because he was using a telephone wire as a belt to hold up his pants. They hung him and he fell back down. They put him back up and hung him again.

pawnografik1483 karma

Were you consumed by hate towards those who did it to you? Have you ever managed to forgive them?

Im_a_Survivor_1771534233 karma

I cannot forgive. But I was never consumed by hate. Hate doesn't improve anything.

rielephant1358 karma

Thank you for doing this.

In your opinion, how accurate was the movie Schindler's List?

Im_a_Survivor_1771532553 karma

I thought it was as close as you can come. It was very well done.

TrevSwan1287 karma

Did average people anywhere realize at any point exactly what Hitler was doing when he had Jews and other outlying members of society taken from the populace? Was there a clear idea to people?

Im_a_Survivor_1771532332 karma

Most people had no idea. Anyone who knew what was going on was already at the gas chamber or in the camps.

Sirnando1381262 karma

What kinds of foods were snuck in for special secret meals? If ever?

Im_a_Survivor_1771533847 karma

I used to go out at night risking my life to steal some raw potatoes from the kitchen at Peiskretscham and at Blechhammer. I took chances. At Blechhammer some inmates caught a dog, a German Shepard, and cooked it. It was a feast. Tasted like rabbit. That was the only time I've eaten dog, and it was the best meal I had in a long time. These days I prefer steak.

Frentis1183 karma

Hello Mr. Flescher

First of all thank you for during this AMA! Now my question if twofold, I hope that's alright.

How did you keep going, when it was hard? Not it it wasn't hard all the time, but as a young man reading about it, I always find myself in wonder of how people got through it.

Secondly,why did you keep the tattoo? I have meet a couple of other Holocaust survivors with the tattoos themselves and heard their reasons, so I'm very curious to hear yours.

Thank you again for doing this AMA!

Im_a_Survivor_1771533174 karma

I lived for tomorrow. I was always positive. They told us if Germany won the war you'd work until you die, and if they lost the war they'd kill everyone. We are born to die, but I always kept my mind positive. I'm lucky I made it out, but I lost many family members and friends during this time.

It's important to remember the past. If I removed the tattoo it's removing a part of history. The Germans wanted to remove tattoo's from survivors afterwards, and I'm sure many people did. But it's a testament to the past. It shows I survived. And I'm here, and loving life!

TheHypnoticGamer1150 karma

What was the transition back to civilian life like, after spending three years in concentration camps?

Im_a_Survivor_1771532395 karma

I wanted to travel and see the world. I went forwards, not backwards. It was a very difficult transition back into real life. I had 3/4 of my stomach taken out from an infection I got while at the camps. This was painful.

buttered_popcorn508 karma

Where was the first place you traveled to after your release?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531827 karma

I went back to Brussels, and that's where I met my wife.

LearnedPaw1029 karma

What do you enjoy now that most of us take for granted?

Im_a_Survivor_1771532438 karma

Life is beautiful. I love seeing my family.

it_is_burning774 karma

You mentioned you were 70 lbs when you were liberated. I'm a dietitian and have an interest in those initial weeks when you began to eat more. Was there any process for refeeding people that you are aware of? What did your diet consist of after you were liberated? How long until you reached a normal, functioning weight? Thanks so much!

Im_a_Survivor_1771531258 karma

Some people ate too much and got very sick from that. I ate slowly and slowly recovered. It took maybe four to five months to get back to a normalish weight.

jivehead748 karma

Mr. Flescher, thank you for doing this AMA. I actually have two questions.

1) As a black jewish person, I've been told that there were hundreds of thousands of blacks killed in the holocaust. Did you come across any yourself? If so, did their treatment differ from yours?

2) I once made the mistake of asking my Hebrew school teacher what the numbers on her arm meant. Seeing her cry was one of the most devastating moments of my life. How do you respond when a child asks what your tattooed numbers mean?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531169 karma

I cannot recall coming across any black jews.

I tell them we were just a number, not human beings. We were not called by names, just by our numbers.

beardlessdick717 karma

I'm an American Jew and I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. Both of my grandfathers fought for the United States in the war. My question is, that as unfortunately more and more survivors and veterans are passing away, what do you feel is the most important thing that we carry on for future generations? How can we take one of the darkest parts of human history and learn something from it?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531237 karma

To teach everyone what the Holocaust was and to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself.

I didn't personally learn anything from the Holocaust. We have one life to live and you have to enjoy it. There is no room for hate in this world.

LukeTheAnarchist701 karma

How were you treated in the camps? Is everything we hear about yhe holocaust true, or is some exaggerated? At what time were you placed into the camps, and when did you get out? What was daily life like? How do you feel when people today compare things to the holocaust?

Im_a_Survivor_1771532434 karma

We worked 12 hours from 6 to 6 everyday. We were not treated well, as you can imagine. I helped build bridges in Peiskretscham, I also worked in a shoe factory in the beginning in Ottmuth. Nothing is exaggerated. When the war broke out, I moved to Brussels with my parents. My brother got a visa in 1939 and moved to the United States. I was too young to obtain a visa, being only 14 at the time, and stayed in Brussels until I was about 16. In 1942 I received a letter to go to labor camp, and at that time my parents tried to smuggle me out of Brussels to go to Spain. While I was being smuggled out, I was caught in Lyon while buying grapes at a market along the way. Somebody asked to see my passport and right away they saw a big "J" in my passport and I was arrested. This was in 1942. I was liberated April 11, 1945. I also had a sister who was older than me, and she had a young child. She was caught around the same time as me, and was immediately sent to Auschwitz.

When people compare things today to the Holocaust they cannot understand. People live normal lives. Most people do not understand the meaning of being hungry or being cold. I was on a death march from Blechhammer to Gross Rosen and we didn't know where we were going, didn't have anything to eat, and marched in the freezing cold for two weeks. Anyone who fell was immediately shot and killed. Being hungry and cold was an afterthought when all you're trying to do was survive.

She_Says_Tapir658 karma

Hello Mr. Flescher,

Thank you do much for doing this AMA.

My question: Is there anything you regret doing while you were in the concentration/labor camps? Anything you would take back of you could?

You are an inspiration and living proof of the resilience of humans. I hope life has treated you well since you were liberated.

Im_a_Survivor_1771531954 karma

I cannot take back anything, and I cannot regret anything. We were treated worse than animals. My name was 177153.

lulicat614 karma

what stand out experience do you remember whilst you were in the camp?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531338 karma

I had dysentery in Gross Rosen and I couldn't go to the bathroom for three days. This was when I almost gave up.

Christiana95613 karma

Did you have any residual mental health problems after you were liberated? Such as PTSD anxiety or depression .

Im_a_Survivor_1771531648 karma

I never had anxiety or depression. I'm lucky I guess. I'm 92 and my health is very good. I go dancing, I travel, and I love life. I'm busy, I'm active, and love sharing my story to schools in Miami and my time at the Holocaust memorial in miami.

Not_shia_labeouf608 karma

What was the first thing you did once you were liberated?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531352 karma

I asked the american soldier if he knew my brother. My brother had gone to US a few years before and enlisted in the army.

breeisfree531 karma

Hello Mr Flescher, Firstly thankyou so much for doing this AMA :) Just a question regarding post liberation from the camps, How did you feel returning home afterwards? what was the general attitude surrounding jewish survivors?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531163 karma

Going back to normal life was difficult. People didn't want to talk about the war and didn't see anything special about surviving the camps. People didn't want to discuss it.

Unhinged_Member504 karma

First, thank you for doing this.

Do you harbor any ill will toward Germany or Germans as a result of your abysmal experience?

Also, what made you decide to move to the United States after you survived?

Finally, what's your favorite restaurant in the Aventura area?

Im_a_Survivor_177153940 karma

It stays with you, but hate doesn't help you in any way. The memories will always stay with me.

My brother moved to the US right before things got ugly in Europe, so I wanted to move where he was. He was in Providence, RI.

Itzik's. It's definitely my favorite.

Vepanion498 karma

Hello Mr. Flescher,

I am from Germany, where denying the Holocaust is a crime and can get you a prison sentence. What is your opinion on this law?

Im_a_Survivor_1771531026 karma

You cannot deny history. They should be punished someway, but I'm not sure that imprisonment is the right way. But lots of people are ignorant and sometimes there's very little you can do about that.

Edward735391 karma

Do you ever feel pressured to act in a certain way or live up to certain expectations, given your experiences? When I think of other survivors like Elie Wiesel, it seems that there is great reverence towards him and that people might expect survivors to be wise and always act kindly. Especially volunteering at the museum you do or giving speeches, I wonder if you ever feel as though you are living in a fish bowl and must act in a certain way.

Im_a_Survivor_177153958 karma

I love sharing my story, but don't even know what reddit is. My grandson has always wanted me to share my story to as many people as possible so he suggested this.

terdsie404 karma

Your grandson is a wise man.

Im_a_Survivor_177153851 karma

thank you. i take after my grandfather :-)

upnflames366 karma

What was it like immediately following your release? I've heard stories that some prisoners were made to stay in the camps for a time as the allies did not know where to place them (albeit under better conditions). Any of that true? How much say did you have as to where you went once released and how long did it take you to get back into any sort of normal living situation.

Thanks for the AMA!

Im_a_Survivor_177153689 karma

I honestly didn't comprehend it when I was liberated. I was very sick at the time. I stayed in a house for two weeks and then i went back to Belgium. Somebody gave me clothes to wear and that's all i had.

dollshell346 karma

Anne Frank would have been 87 this year, have you read her diary? If so, how did it affect you personally?

Im_a_Survivor_177153737 karma

I've been to her house in Amsterdam, but I actually have never read her diary. Every survivor (and even non-survivor in the case of Anne Frank) has a different story. Every story needs to be shared.

BaronHarkonnen81340 karma

Do you remember any groups wearing the pink triangle? If so, how were they treated compared to the other prisoners?

Im_a_Survivor_177153236 karma

I do not remember seeing these. I'm sure they were there, but some things stick out in my memory more than others.

pixelcowboy325 karma

Thank for doing this AMA. My grandfather was an Austrian Jew, but he managed to escape Europe. However, all of his family, except for one brother, didn't make it. He died before I was born, and as far as I know, he never found out what happened to them (he also didn't like talking about it, according to my mother). My question is, what resources (specific to Austrian Jews) would you recommend that I use to research what happened to his family? Unfortunately, I do have very limited information, except some names. Thanks again.

Im_a_Survivor_177153508 karma

I know there's a research database in the holocaust museum in washington. there's probably some organizations that could help you but i'm not truly sure. good luck!

Sideshowcomedy313 karma

Have you ever considered writing a book? It seems ludicrous, but there are still deniers out there who claim the holocaust never happened and every documented account helps.

Im_a_Survivor_177153811 karma

No. Every survivor has his or her own story. I was interviewed by Spielberg and have that on tape. I think every survivor was interviewed by him to document the living survivors.

TheCenterOfEnnui285 karma

Damn, you look amazing for 92. Have any aging secrets? I hope to look as good as you at your age.

Im_a_Survivor_177153557 karma

The secret is to enjoy whatever you do in my life. Think positive. I'm also very lucky to be in the shape I am and I still have my mind.

throwaway_19021252 karma

Hi Henry, I've wanted to ask someone in your situation this question for a while. What would be your thoughts if one of your grandchildren were to tattoo your number on them in the future? Would you be insulted? Do you find that disrespectful? I apologise if this has already been asked.

Im_a_Survivor_177153968 karma

I would not accept that. I am absolutely against it. I would find it very distasteful.

wildfyr247 karma

Did people try to observe religion in the camps? I've read that there were small secret services to try to observe high holidays or even to try to do a bris if a baby was somehow born.

I found this short account http://chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2619/jewish/The-Nazi-Accomplice-in-the-Circumcision.htm which moved me to unexpected tears this morning.

Im_a_Survivor_177153297 karma

It was very difficult to do so. I never observed anyone praying in private.

Cyclotron1234 karma

Mr. Flescher,

If a guard had asked you for forgiveness, what would have been your response?

Im_a_Survivor_177153863 karma

Never forgive, never forget.

elyasafmunk214 karma

As a grandchild of 3 holocaust survivors, I was wondering if you still kept the faith? I am not judging in anyway, just genuinely interested.

Im_a_Survivor_177153362 karma

Yes. Definitely.

Fezman92199 karma

My late grandfather was in Buchenwald. If I post a photo and a name, do you think you would be able to remember if you saw him? I know the chances are small. There was one survivor who knew of my grandfather when I mentioned his name, but he died before I could interview him a lot.

Im_a_Survivor_177153136 karma

The chances of me recalling someone is very small. Feel free to post it though and I'll take a look.

hugtheghost198 karma

Hello Mr. Flescher, thank you so much for sharing your experiences here on Reddit today. Was there ever a point in the camps where you felt like you couln't go on, and if so, what thought or hope kept you going? Have you ever returned to any of the camps years later to see how the Holocaust is represented to travelers in Europe, or is the thought of doing so utterly abhorrent to you?

Im_a_Survivor_177153463 karma

There was many times I almost lost hope. It was difficult to get the stamina to keep going. I just hoped I would survive and lived day by day. I returned to Drancy where I was deported from. My name is on a wall in Paris with 76,000 names of people who got deported from there. I don't think many survived.

BrideOfGrendel189 karma

What do you think about the growing Islamophobia? Do you see any similarities between how Jews were talked about before and during WWII and how Muslims are discussed now? And do you think that there is risk of it growing to something akin to the Holocaust?

Im_a_Survivor_177153385 karma

I don't think it will ever be akin to the Holocaust. It's hard for me to compare the situations as I was very young back then so I probably didn't pay too much attention to the news. But I definitely did not feel at home anywhere in Europe after Hitler came to power.

ThisIsMyUsernameName162 karma

Mr.Flascher, I have a family member that survived Dr.Mengele's experiments in Auschwitz- she refused to discuss her experience, which is understandable. But hearing these stories, answering questions first hand is what this world needs as a daily reminder of how close this world was to losing an entire religion and culture that has played a pivotal roll in history. The fact anyone can still even question the truth of these events, shows we need to do a better as a whole, to teach and make sure this can't happen again. To anyone.

My question to you is, have you ever met or interviewed or "ran into" a former Nazi and questioned him? Also- is there a reflex or a habit that you developed during your experiences that has stayed with you to this day? (i.e eating your food quickly, or sleeping on the floor etc)

I thank you tremendously for taking the time to do this AMA, much love and respect for you and your family.

Im_a_Survivor_177153344 karma

I have never met a former Nazi.

The only habit that stayed with me is my desire to live.

Sjwpoet159 karma

We all know these were slaughter houses, but how does a person (and your not the only one) go on to survive several of these slaughter houses.

Some people survived several years in camps that were killing all day everyday, how? Also why did they bother moving people that seems alot of work.


Im_a_Survivor_177153392 karma

If you have a desire to live, you will do what it takes to exist for the next day.

PivotShadow143 karma

Are you by any chance related to fellow survivor Miriam Flescher, who did a talk at my school a few weeks ago? She lived with her family in Amsterdam before the war, and was at Belsen in 1943; she made it to the UK after she was exchanged for a German prisoner of war.

Im_a_Survivor_177153213 karma

I am not.

Gareesuhn130 karma

Hi Mr Fleshcer! Thank you for doing this AMA, and so happy that you've been able to live your life to the fullest.

My question is:

Did you ever create a plan to attempt an escape from the camp, or did you ever witness a successful/failed escape plan? If so, what are the details? Thank you!

Im_a_Survivor_177153279 karma

I never planned an escape. There were electric fences and you were wearing uniforms. I never witnessed any possible escapes.

DanieleB115 karma

Good morning, Mr. Flescher, and thank you to you (and your grandchild) for doing this! I'm sure it must be painful to revisit.

My question is regarding the period leading up to the true horrors of your capture and detainment. (Such a bland word for such horrific conditions!) I realize you were very young at the time, but does anything stand out in your mind as a warning that something truly awful was happening? What indications did people have, or should they have had -- both Jew and Gentile -- that this was more than just setting up ghettos and segregating populations?

Im_a_Survivor_177153189 karma

I was too young to understand what was happening.

Willa_Catheter_work103 karma

Have you ever been standing in a store or walking past a person and seen their tattooed numbers on their arm? If so, did you approach them and talk or show yours?

Also, belated happy birthday, Pisces. You share the day with Albert Einstein.

May you continue to enjoy all the best health, wealth, and happiness-thank you for sharing your lifestory with the world (hugs)

Im_a_Survivor_177153177 karma

I don't remember ever seeing someone passing by. People wear long sleeve shirts so it's usually covered up. I have met other people with numbers at holocaust events in the past though.

SaintHeroin98 karma

Mr. Fletcher- We're you captured-sorry for lack of a better term-in Germany or another country? I've always wondered when Jewish people and other groups that were interned started to become aware of Hitler and the Nazi's horrific agenda, especially in Germany. Wishing you happiness your remaining days. Thank you and God Bless.

Im_a_Survivor_177153273 karma

I was captured in France. While trying to buy grapes at a market. They asked for my papers and that was it.

IlvermornyAlumna85 karma

Thank you, Mr. Flescher, for telling your story. I am Jewish and will always remember the story my grandfather told me before he passed away. When he was about 12, he and his mother and older sister traveled from New York (he was a first generation American) to Poland to visit his family members, an aunt, an uncle, and a cousin who was his age. This was the mid-late 1930's and he told be all the horrible anti-Semantic comments he received. He was lucky to make it back to the States without being harmed. Unfortunately, his aunt, uncle, and cousin were not so lucky and where killed sometime in the Holocaust. Their names have been lost in our family history after my grandfather died, and it's my goal to find their names and discover what their fates were.

I was wondering if you can tell us about your liberation. What was it liked to be freed? Did you believe it was really over? How long did you stay in Europe? How did you make your way to Miami?

Also, I live about an hour north of Aventura and I remember Holocaust speakers coming to my high school to speak for a week. I hope I saw you then!

Im_a_Survivor_177153126 karma

I did not believe it was over. It was all difficult to understand. I stayed in Europe until 1950. I had a daughter in Belgium, and then moved to Providence and had another daughter. I lived in Providence for about 20 years, and then moved to Brookline MA and lived there for 24 years. I moved to the Miami area afterwards.

Hydrogen-373 karma

How were you able to be so strong to survive such a hellish experience, when so many of us lived privileged easy lives and still come apart at the seams?

Im_a_Survivor_177153258 karma

Most people are never happy and complain too much. It's too hot out, it's too cold out. Life is beautiful. No need to complain so much. I think my outlook on life is different than most people, before and after the Holocaust. I've always had a love for life.

Garwoodwould67 karma

Sir, can you describe your first thoughts when you realized you were finally free and had survived?

Im_a_Survivor_177153170 karma

I really didn't understand it. I was confused. I didn't know I was free.

avig122160 karma

Thanks for sharing your story, Mr. Flescher. I've grown up attending many Holocaust commemorations, and the refrain has often been simply to 'remember.' What would you want the next generation to learn about the Holocaust besides 'remembering' it?

Im_a_Survivor_177153193 karma

That dictatorships are not good. They fulfill the dream of one person. And unfortunately they are still in existence today.

mitchgodleski57 karma

What was an average meal like in these camps?

Im_a_Survivor_17715392 karma

Usually at night we got a piece of bread and some watery soup. In the morning sometimes we got a cup of coffee. I used to scrape and eat the coffee grinds from barrels and in the morning to get a little sustenance. We would also break the piece of bread we got at night in two, and save the other half for the morning. That is what i remember.

thesoundofashadow41 karma

What was it like living in Vienna before the war? How did you see the non-Jewish Austrians who were not taken to camps but knew about the persecution of Jewish people?

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences - I know my great-grandfather came from Germany around 1900 and his family is now probably lost because of the war. Thanks for telling us what things were like back then.

Im_a_Survivor_177153159 karma

I was very young while in Vienna so I don't remember much. My education stopped when I was 14. I'm self educated. I know five languages- English, French, German, Yiddush, and some Hebrew.

wheresthekarma37 karma

Wow this is really amazing to be able to talk to you and hear your story. I am so sorry for what you went through. I have been reading a lot about Auschwitz lately and it is just heartbreaking. Can't get the pictures of the kids out of my head. I am so glad you survived. Do you have a book out with your story?

Thank you so much for writing on here. I worked in a nursing home where I took care of two women that had stories about their time during the wars too. One from Germany but was taken away from her family to work as a servant for another family and another from Lithuania who was reunited with her son she hasn't seen since the Holocaust right in front of us! Ill never forget. Her name was Rose and she had a tattoo on her wrist with numbers too. I am so very sorry for what you went through.

Id love to just sit here and talk to you all day, In fact I am going to sit here and read each and everyone of these comments. Also thank you for putting a positive twist on your experience by showing all you have accomplished and given back over the years. You are a true hero.

Im_a_Survivor_17715352 karma

Thank you. My sister's name was Rose as well.

__RemindMeToStudy__32 karma

How did your family in the US (your brother) react after finding out what happened to you?

Im_a_Survivor_17715381 karma

My brother was very relieved to know that I made it out alive. My parents and sister and her child were all sent to Auschwitz. It would have been tough on him to know that his entire family was killed. But that was the reality many people faced.

asillyname27 karma

Hey Mr. Flescher, I'm a high school senior that is preparing to go to college next year. Naturally this stresses my mother out a bit, and has led her to push a lot of "teachings" on me before I'm on my own. One topic that she pushes quite regularly is how she thinks that I should only date Jewish women so that when I fall in love with one and eventually have kids with her those kids are Jewish. When I asked her why my kids has to be Jewish she said that it is my responsibility to replace the numbers of those lost during the holocaust. What are your thoughts on a statement like that?

Im_a_Survivor_17715384 karma

I think it's wonderful if you date Jewish women, but that is not necessary. In my opinion, it is necessary in life to be happy. I can't really agree with her statement because if that involves you marrying someone that you're not happy with then it's not worth it.

Skrappyross23 karma

I recently went to Vietnam with my dad who had fought in the war, and I was wondering. Have you been, or would you ever consider going to modern day Germany?

Im_a_Survivor_17715356 karma

I have been before, and I plan to go again soon.

WernherVonB15 karma

Hi Henry, thanks for doing this. My questions are,

  • A Holocaust survivor once came to my school to talk about the Holocaust. He mentioned he never talked about it until years after. Were you the same?

  • How do you feel about the rise in Nationalism in America and across Europe today?

Im_a_Survivor_177153118 karma

Hitler is Hitler. He was a psychopath and instilled his views in millions of people. You cannot compare him to Donald Trump, as many people do. I do not know much about the rise of nationalism across Europe. But when you exterminate millions of educated people in Europe, I can see how they have problems today.

Mechashevet11 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA, it is so important to teach people about the Holocaust, especially those who aren't as exposed to it.

When I was in Poland I learned of Jews who returned to their pre-WWII homes after the Holoacaust and were later murdered in pogroms. I've heard of other cases of post-Holocaust anti-Semitism directed at other survivors who moved to the US, UK, or then Palestine.

Did you experience any post-Holocaust anti-Semitism? How were you treated by people who didn't go through the horrors that you went through after you were liberated?

Im_a_Survivor_17715317 karma

It's hard to remember. I'm sure there was, but I cannot recall.

Medachimasen9 karma

Hi Mr. Fletcher! I am very happy to see such a unique and interesting AMA today. It must have been terrible to go through everything you've been in.

Here's my question: did you receive any kindness from any Nazi soldiers? I heard many times there were people that joined the Nazis just to survive, but decided to help people in small ways to ease their pain a little.

Im_a_Survivor_17715332 karma

I never received any kindness from soldiers.

mlp-r34-clopper1 karma

hmm... could you post more accurate proof that this is you? None of the proof given above really shows that the person who posted this is Henry Flescher. And bored kids have been known to poull hoaxes here in the past.

Can you post a pic of yourself holding up a note that says "hi reddit" or something?

Im_a_Survivor_17715356 karma

I just added more proof above. Hope this helps!