Holocaust survivor to speak in Eastern Iowa this week - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Holocaust survivor to speak in Eastern Iowa this week

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Elane Geller didn't always speak out about her lost childhood, but today she's known as a national treasure.

"I think every journey is a selfish one to some degree and for a long time I didn't talk about it. I also knew that sooner or later I'd have to deal with it." said Geller.

Geller was just a 4-year-old girl living in Poland when the Nazis invaded her country.

"I remember physical things, my brothers were shocked I remember. I'm not sure that I'm remembering everything from when my brothers and father were alive.  They didn't talk to me about it or amongst themselves. When I'd see my brothers look at me, they always had tears in their eyes."  said Geller.

Geller became one of the youngest survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. She was imprisoned with Anne Frank.

"My mother was killed early on.  I was with my aunt by accident. It just happened. I remember being in the refugee camp and it was a beautiful day."  said Geller.

"At that point we didn't know who was left. I was playing with my first Red Cross doll in a package.  A uniformed man with a crew cut came running towards me.  It was my brother!  He told me to stay where I was,"  said Geller.  "By the time he came back my other brother had found us and found that my aunt and I were alive."

Geller says speaking out preserves her history.

"Hard times are survivable. It's what you do with that gift of life that counts. For me to be less than I am would give my enemy a victory. Hilter would win. It's not gonna happen."  said Geller.

Geller volunteers at the Museum of Tolerance in her home state of California.

Of the 11 million Jews in Europe during World War II, six million were murdered during the Holocaust. Of those six million, 1.5 million were under the age of 17.

Geller spoke at an event on the Coe College campus Tuesday afternoon.  The presentation was sponsored by the Joan and David Thaler Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

 Mount Mercy University will welcome Elane Geller during  a special presentation on April 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy, Busse Center,  on the Mount Mercy campus. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

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