Holocaust survivor to share his story at York JCC

Katherine Ranzenberger

David Tuck wasn't even 10 years old when he was taken to the Lodz ghetto in Poland in 1940.

Holocaust survivor David Tuck will speak at the Yom HaShoah Observance at the york JCC on Wednesday, May 4.

He spent the next five years circulating from a labor camp in Posen in Poland to Auschwitz in Germany. He eventually landed in Güsen II, an underground factory to build German aircraft for the war.

At 15, weighing only 78 pounds, Tuck was liberated from Güsen II on May 5, 1945. Now, almost 71 years to the day later, he's sharing his story of survival with the York area.

Tuck will be speaking at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Yom HaShoah Observance at the York Jewish Community Center, 2000 Hollywood Drive. Yom HaShoah is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Sharing story: The Polish immigrant said he believes it's important to remember the past and share stories like his with the next generation.

"For years I didn't talk about it," Tuck said. "People are forgetting about it. They don't teach about it in school anymore. I hope it never happens again."

Rachel Singer, an organizer of the event at JCC, agreed with Tuck about the importance of passing on these stories. Hearing them from the people who lived it adds a level of empathy for the listener, she said, seeing the pain in their eyes and hearing it in their voices as they tell their stories.

"I think about my 2-year-old son and how he may not be able to hear firsthand the stories people have," Singer said. "It's important because in our society even today, we need to be accepting of people's differences. We have to remember where the darkest part of humanity can take us if we give in to hate."

Community Sabbath: One of the other ways JCC is working to remember these stories is through a community Sabbath at 7 p.m. Friday. "Remembering the Shoah" will be held at Temple Beth Israel, 2090 Hollywood Drive.

Singer said seven Yahrzeit candles will be lit in remembrance of those who were lost. This is a part of the Yellow Candle Project, designed to remind people of the horrors of the Holocaust and of the Jewish people's survival through that awful time.

Candles can be picked up at either the JCC or at Temple Beth Israel for no charge, Singer said. They should be displayed in windowsills Wednesday evening, and each candle comes with a prayer sheet. Donations are welcome.

The event is open to the public, and Singer said she hopes many people will come to hear Tuck's story.

"As our Holocaust survivors are aging, to hear a first person account of that story, it's heartbreaking," she said. "It's so much different. You never forget it."

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at kranzenberger@yorkdispatch.com.