DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Magie Furst, 88, of Dallas knows first hand that hatred corrupts.
She was growing up in Germany when the Nazis came to power. As a Jewish child, she saw her life begin to unravel, when even venturing into the streets was hazardous.
“Hitler Youth were there to make the Jewish children’s lives as miserable as possible,” recalled Furst while speaking to visitors Wednesday at a planned talk at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. “My brother and I could not go out without getting beat up.”
As the wave of anti-Semitism began to intensify, Furst’s mother began working desperately to get Magie and her younger brother out of the country. With the help of the Quakers and Jews living in other countries, what came to be known as the “Kindertransport” began ferrying children out of the country… but, there was a catch. The children had to be potty trained and families could only send two.
“I remember there was one little girl, maybe only 2 and a half or 3 that had a chamber pot strapped to her back,” recalled Furst, while posing a question to her audience “what if you had 3 children? Or four or five? Which two would you choose?” She would never see the family she left behind again. “The train pulled out with a lurch and we were on our way.”
The family, including her Mother, eventually settled in Great Britain. But, life there was still hard as they found shelter with various families. At 10, Furst says she became little more than a live in maid. But, she was alive. The children saved through the Kindertransport were a fraction of the estimated six million Jews who were murdered in the concentration camps.
“Oh my goodness,” says Furst, “my father was one of 13 children, half of them perished.” Her father, who fought for Germany during WWI, died of a heart attack before the second world war. But, the persecution had already started.
It’s a story that Furst now shares often at the Dallas Holocaust Museum in an effort to show others the high cost of hate.
When asked if America should be afraid of the neo-Nazi, white supremacist movement’s growth in the U.S., Furst’s answer came quickly. “Yes! That’s how Hitler started. It didn’t just start in 1933, it started before then… little groups and they thought they were a free country and they could do what they liked.”
Furst says it is important that we as a nation become educated, work to help others, and always go vote.
“Ignorance is terrible. I shake my head because I never thought this would happen in the U.S.,” says Furst when asked about the groups who now gather in public, openly displaying the Nazi flag as a proud display of hatred and division.
“I thought that we had learned from the past,” says Furst with a big sigh. “But, I think we have not.”