"Hearing one person tell their story gave a completely different perspective to what happened, as it wasn't about statistics or about a nation as a whole, but one person who lost his family and home." ~O. Avery (student)
You can easily download and print Ernie's biography here (pdf)
Ernie Gross was born in 1929 in Turt, Romania. His father was a salesman and his mother was a Romanian language tutor. He had five brothers and two sisters.
In April 1944, when Ernie was 15 years old, the Hungarian occupiers deported him and his family to the Sevlus ghetto for several weeks into cramped and near starving conditions. Then they were deported to Auschwitz, arriving in late May 1944.
After surviving on small pieces of bread and stolen potatoes for several months in the horrific conditions at Auschwitz, the Nazis forced Ernie and thousands of other inmates who were still alive on a death march to the west towards Dachau and Kaufering, a network of subcamps of Dachau in Germany. On April 29, 1945 the American army liberated. Within that one-year internment, Ernie lost 5 members of his immediate family and an unknown number of extended family members. Only two of his brothers and one sister survived.
He spent the next several months in a displaced persons camp and in September 1947 finally immigrated to New York City and then Philadelphia to where his father’s three sisters moved.
He speaks to students at area schools and impresses upon them that even though people have differences, it is important that we not hate and understand that we are all equal.