Holocaust Survivor Commemorates Soldiers on Memorial Day


Pictures courtesy of John Mooney

Josh Axelrod

Pictures courtesy of John Mooney
Marsha Kreuzman is a Holocaust survivor who survived five concentration camps and was liberated by American soldiers in 1945. She came to Fanwood to share her story and thank the veterans for their valiant service.
Kreuzman was born in Krakow, Poland, on May 18, 1902. Her mother, father, and brother were killed at the onset of World War II, and she was sent to Płaszów, a nearby concentration camp. Throughout the course of the Holocaust she was transferred to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Flossenburg, and finally Mauthausen where she was eventually rescued.
On May 5, 1945, the survivor’s seemingly hopeless destiny was changed forever. “I was lying outside the crematorium to be burned,” Kreuzman said. “The American army liberated me. If they didn’t come and liberate us on the fifth, I don’t think I would have lived through the eighth.”
After her unlikely salvation, Kreuzman was transferred to a displaced persons camp for a year. She tried to obtain an education and moved to England, where she became a registered nurse and midwife. In 1952, she moved to the United States, married a fellow Holocaust survivor, and settled in New Jersey. She now visits schools, churches and Hebrew schools to share her story and teach about respect.
“I tell them: tolerate each other; tolerance is the most important thing. Respect each other,” said Kreuzman. “Don’t bully each other.  was bullied all my life.” She said that the message she wants to pass on to children is, “We are all God’s children. He’s addressed differently, he’s dressed differently. There are priests, there are rabbis, but they all believe in one God.”
Kreuzman has maintained a friendship with the son of her liberator, whom she tracked down after relocating to the United States. Sergeant Kenneth Hanlon of the Eleventh Army Division was one of the young men who heroically helped free Mauthausen from Nazi control. Sgt. Hanlon passed away several years ago, but his son, Wayne Hanlon, was able to attend the parade by Kreuzman’s side.
Hanlon, paying tribute to his father, said, “What we celebrate today are the men and women that gave their lives for our country and our freedom.” Like Kreuzman, Hanlon believes tolerance is a crucial lesson to teach children today. “The reason [concentration camp prisoners] were there is intolerance and the inability to understand different people and different political views. And that’s why we wound up with the Holocaust and the atrocities we saw. To be able to understand people, to tolerate different points of view, that’s what is important.”
Marsha Kreuzman addressed the town of Fanwood to kick off the Memorial Day Parade at the Fanwood Library on May 25, 2015. She is thankful for being invited and for being given the opportunity to speak. When asked why she talks at events like these, she said, “We should never forget.” After her heartfelt remarks, it is doubtful that any citizen in attendance will soon forget the importance of remembering the Holocaust or of celebrating those who fought for our country.