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Published January 26, 2012, 10:15 PM

Holocaust Survivor Shares His Story In Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A Holocaust survivor brought his message of diversity and acceptance to Grand Forks Thursday. Irving Roth told his story of survival, helping people understand and learn from what happened in the Holocaust.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - A Holocaust survivor brought his message of diversity and acceptance to Grand Forks Thursday. Irving Roth told his story of survival, helping people understand and learn from what happened in the Holocaust.

"And in 53 days 437,000 Jews were put into trains, and shipped into a death camp. So in June I arrived in Auschwitz," Holocaust survivor Irving Roth said to students at Schroeder Middle School.

At just 14 years old, Irving Roth experienced first-hand the effects of hatred and persecution, when he was sent off to a concentration camp.

"I was scared, I was 14 years old and my parents weren't even with me. My parents were stuck some place else in another city," Roth said to the middle school students.

As students at Schroeder Middle School went back into the classroom today, they took with them a lesson. A lesson that Roth hopes they remember for the rest of their lives.

"I don't like you, I don't want you to sit at my table in the lunch room, I don't want you to be in my class is what happens to them. And those parallels they understand," Roth said.

"I for sure want to act on that, but I hope it makes the people who maybe are the bullies or are the tormentors that they realize that everybody is different and we should respect everybody else," 8th Grade Student Gretchen Schreiner said.

Roth's message of acceptance and his account of the Holocaust is a unique opportunity for these students, possibly the only opportunity they will have to hear from a survivor of one of the tragedies in World War II.

"I'm glad that he came. I think that I'll tell my family about it, and then it's just a neat experience to see somebody who's made it through all that and have a happy ending," Schreiner said.

"They understand that one needs to be careful and one has to stop hatred early, because by the time we have a dictatorship, by the time you have concentration camps and death camps, it's a bit hard to change," Roth added.

Roth is a recipient of many awards and recognitions including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award for his dedication to educating the world on diversity and acceptance.

Roth also spoke at UND's Memorial Union Thursday night.

More than 600 people showed up to hear his speech. It was standing room only and people spilled over to another room in the union.

Roth told his story of survival and focused his message on ending anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses, and on the war in the Middle East.

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