Wednesday, May 6, 2009

At 103, Still Telling Students of Resisting Nazis

He would not bend to their political will or join their army, nor would he deny his religion, and for that Leopold Engleitner was sent to a concentration camp in wartime Germany.

"Every morning . . . you would not know whether you would live to see the evening," the Austrian native said through a translator, his broken voice showing his years.

But again he saw each evening throughout World War II. And some 70 years later, at age 103, Engleitner told his story of six years in three concentration camps under Nazi rule, never losing faith.

Beginning the latest US tour of his book, "Unbroken Will," Engleitner, sitting hunched over in a wheelchair, draped in a baggy coat and pink tie, told a crowd of about 400 Harvard University students, faculty, and others at a Center for European Studies seminar last night that no hardship could break his will.

Believed to be the oldest-known male survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, he told of the beatings he took whenever he showed weakness, and the suffering of others that he saw, particularly Jews, when Adolf Hitler starved his "slaves."

But his story is of a nonviolent resistance.

He was arrested for being a Jehovah's Witness, called a Bible researcher at the time.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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