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Nazi camp survivor bears witness to history, shares his experiences with La Verne.
In his book, “I Never Saw My Face,” author Dr. Samuel Goetz, dedicates the novel to his wife and to his family and “to all the children who perished in Nazi-occupied Europe.”
A Holocaust survivor, Dr. Goetz was just 11 when he was sent to a Nazi concentration camp. When liberated at age 16, he had survived three camps, his parents had been murdered and he weighed only 80 pounds.
“I wasn’t supposed to be here with you,” he told the University of La Verne campus community recently as he began to tell of his childhood experiences growing up within the horrors of Nazism. Approximately 1.5 million children were murdered during the Holocaust.
Dr. Goetz was invited to speak at the university by his nephew, La Verne Professor of Computer Science Dr. Jozef Goetz, who believed it was important to share his uncle’s experiences with La Verne’s faculty, students and staff.
As he shared his experiences, Dr. Goetz made reference to different passages in his book. As a young child, making sense of the “man’s inhumanity to man” was not easy for him to understand. He faced this, he said under Nazi-occupied Europe.
“I searched for answers,” Dr. Goetz said, reading from his book. “How can any “civilized human being dispassionately murder women and children during the day and then return home and face his own wife and play with his own children at night?”
After the war ended and he was liberated, Dr. Goetz began to rebuild his life. He resumed his education, graduated from the UCLA School of Public Health, and earned his doctorate in Optometry. Following years of private practice, he joined the faculty of the Southern California School of Optometry.
A prominent spokesman for Holocaust survivors, he founded the UCLA Chair on Holocaust Studies and organized the unprecedented preservation project that recorded on videotape the testimonies of Holocaust survivors.
He is currently a member of the Content Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and has received numerous awards for his outstanding work for humanitarian causes. For more information on Dr. Goetz and his book, please visit http://www.hudsonhousepub.com/goetz.htm.