Holocaust survivor shares his story with Iowans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Holocaust survivor shares his story with Iowans

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Cesare Frustaci wasn't even ten years old when World War II ended. For 60 years he stayed silent, not even telling his closest friends he was a Holocaust survivor. But now, he's decided to speak up to make sure the Holocaust is never forgotten.

At the age of seven, Frustaci and his mother were forced to move into a Jewish ghetto in Budapest.

"I was in hiding because I had a Jewish mother," said Frustaci. "I had a Roman Catholic father. We were separated by the anti-Semitic laws in Italy. "Frustaci's mother decided to send her young son out in the streets with his baptism certificate to give him a chance at life. He had to fend for himself, finding food, shelter, and a place to shower -- all while witnessing horrendous crimes. He says he saw Jewish people killed right in front of him.

"I was expecting that he had grown up in the environment but I wasn't expecting that he had been so deeply involved in it," said Sarah Wehrkamp, Sophomore at Alburnett High School.

Frustaci spoke at Alburnett High School on Monday,

"To hear about what he had to go through at such a young age and what his family had to go through," said Taylor Huber, Sophomore.

Frustaci now shares his experiences with others across the country. It's all because he was outraged about a decade ago by Holocaust deniers and wanted to make sure survivor stories were heard, knowing few were willing to share them.

"The survivors' common characteristic seems to be that they don't speak," said Frustaci. "They keep their mouth shut. My mother -- I never would have learned what happened to her in the German concentration camps if it were not for the Soviet Red Army reports."

Frustaci never went to a concentration camp though he was sent to youth detention camp run by priests. His mother survived the concentration camps and walked through nearly 200 villages after the war ended until she found her son.

Frustaci has several more presentations at high schools in Iowa. 

Frustaci will also be speaking at several public events.

Monday, April 7: St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Marion, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 8: Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Hall Room 234, 11:15 a.m.
Tuesday, April 8: Mount Mercy University, Chapel of Mercy, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 9: Coe College, Kesler Auditorium, 3:30 p.m.
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