Holocaust Survivor Shares His Experiences David Fishman '14

On May 1, the Hillel House began its Holocaust Remembrance Week by bringing in a Holocaust survivor, Marcel Drimer. A few students had dinner with Drimer and his wife before the talk began. Candidly discussing a number of topics, aside from Drimer's obviously interesting experiences during WWII, we learned that he earned an engineering degree before coming to America, and as an American he was responsible for building numerous Post Offices in the U.S. The construction of these buildings is another way that his memory will be permanently immortalized.

Presenting to a packed Hillel House Multipurpose room, Drimer told of his experiences as a young child. Born May 1, 1934, in Drohobycz, Poland, which is now a small town within the Ukraine, Drimer spent his 79th birthday recounting his experiences.

Following the German invasion of Poland, on September 1, 1939, Drimer's town initially fell under Soviet control in accordance with the German-Soviet Pact. It was not until Germany betrayed the Soviet Union, violating their pact, almost two years later, that Drohobycz was occupied by German forces. The following year, August 1942, Drimer, his parents and his sister were forced into the Drohobycz ghetto, where they lived in cramped one-room quarters with barely sufficient food. Although much of Drimer's extended family was deported to the Belzec death camp, he and his family hid in various secret bunkers to avoid a similar fate. Before the ghetto was liquidated, Drimer's father bribed a guard and the family escaped to Mlynki Szkolnikowe, a small village near their hometown.

Drimer and his family remained in hiding until the following year, August 1944, when the Soviet army liberated Drimer and his family. After moving to Walbrzych, he finished high school before leaving for engineering college in Wroclaw. In 1961, he moved to the United States and today he serves as a volunteer at the Holocaust Museum.

An enthralling and truly amazing story, Drimer's talk was followed by cookies and cake in commemoration of his birthday. Undoubtedly, he has lived a profound life, and both his perseverance and story have and will continue to inspire many. The Washington and Lee Hillel is pleased to have had Drimer speaking on campus, and we hope that his and myriads of stories of people who were involved in the Holocaust are never forgotten.