Dr. Henry Fenichel, Holocaust survivor and Professor Emeritus of physics at the University of Cincinnati, will recount his story as a preschooler forced by Nazis to wear a yellow star signifying his religion. |
Fenichel, who did not speak openly about his experiences until the early 1990's, is now sharing his life story with hundreds of people- including young school children. What prompted Dr. Fenichel to break his silence on his past was the opening of the Holocaust Memorial Museum dedicated in Washington, D.C in 1993. Each community looked for a local survivor, and Dr. Fenichel was interviewed by the Cincinnati Enquirer to represent survivors living in Cincinnati at the opening of the museum.
Along with his own story, Dr. Fenichel will share the story of Israeli astronaut, Ilan Romon (who lost his life on the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy in 2003). Dr. Fenichel met Romon's wife after a video conference between Cincinnati and Isreli schoolchildren in 2006. Romon was the first Israeli astronaut and the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors.
Dr. Henry Fenichel was born in the Netherlands and lived a self-described "happy childhood". Everything changed when the Nazi's invaded in 1940. At the age of six, he and his mother were sent to the Westerbork Dentention Camp, which served as a transit camp for over 107,000 Jews before they were deported to extermination camps. Only 5,200 of the people who passed through Westerbork survived.
Dr. Fenichel and his mother were transported to Bergen-Belsen camp and later exchanged for German civilians held abroad and then escaped to Palestine. While in Palestine Dr. Feinchel witnessed the creation of the state of Isreal and the beginning of the Palestinian/Isreal conflict that continues today. Eventually he made his way to the United States where he settled down less than a mile away from Hillcrest Academy in the suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dr. Henry Fenichel