Holocaust survivor visits Morgantown

Monongalia and Preston

David S. Wisnia is a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau, which are two of the most notorious concentration death camps from World War II. 

“His story is remarkably unique because not only did he survive the camps as he escaped, he was rescued by the 101st Airborne division of the United States Army and he became a soldier. His story is one of going from a prisoner to becoming a liberator,” said Laurent Levy, David Wisnia’s Piano Accompanist.  

Wisnia said one of the main reasons he survived was because he provided entertainment for guards.

“In all this chaos, you know, who can sing? Cell block leaders and once a month or every two months, I used to sing at their drunken parties and I sung German, and they loved it. So I got extra rations, I got special privileges. People didn’t survive with my number, yes you can still see it,” said Wisnia.  

The six from the number 83526 which was tattooed on Wisnia’s arm is still visible, despite his attempt at having it surgically removed. 

“After he came to the United States, he continued singing and he became a cantor at a couple of Synagogues and made his career basically as a singer,” said Levy. 

Wisnia performed a selection of his songs for the crowd of over 200 people at the Morgantown Event Center.

Wisnia’s message for humanity is to be a blessing.

“Be a blessing, in other words, do some good. Make this world a little bit better. And that’s what the whole idea is. This is taken from the Old Testament, Genesis 12. That’s my message. Try… No prejudice. People are people. It doesn’t matter what color, what religion,” said Wisnia. 

Guests to the presentation were able to buy copies of Wisnia’s book ‘One Voice, Two Lives,’ and also get them autographed. 

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