Beale hosts Holocaust Remembrance Luncheon

Bernard Marks speaks during a Holocaust Remembrance Luncheon at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., April 17, 2012. Marks is a survivor of the Holocaust and the Aushwitz extermination camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo/Released)

Bernard Marks speaks during a Holocaust Remembrance Luncheon at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., April 17, 2012. Marks is a survivor of the Holocaust and the Aushwitz extermination camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo/Released)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Team Beale hosted a Holocaust Remembrance Luncheon at the Recce Point Club here April 17.

Bernard Marks, a Holocaust survivor, was the guest speaker at the "Choosing to Act: Stories of Rescue" themed event.

"We wanted Airmen to understand what happened during that time period and are very fortunate to have Mr. Marks come and tell us firsthand," said Tech. Sgt. Alison Villarruel, 9th Reconnaissance Wing staff judge advocate NCO in charge of Military Justice and event coordinator.

In 1939 Marks and his family were taken to be slave labors when the German army invaded Poland. Five years later Marks and his family were sent to the Auschwitz/Birkenau extermination camp where Marks lost his mother during their imprisonment.

During the luncheon Marks shared with the audience personal stories of strife, sorrow and personal scarifies which he and his father had to endure to survive.

"I know I don't paint a pretty picture," said Marks. "But I was there and we had to survive one day at a time."

He also showed a video and many pictures of some of the horrors and atrocities he witnessed at a young age.

"What I saw and had to endure I don't wish upon anyone," he added.

Marks showed the audience the many hardships he and other Jews experienced during
World War II but left with the message hope and understanding.

"We must learn from this and never forget what happened," said Marks.

At the End of the event Team Beale donated $300 dollars to the Eleanor J. Marks essay contest honoring Mark's wife, and promoting remembrance awareness and study of the Holocaust.

"It's not every day you meet a Holocaust survivor, I was shocked at some of experiences he had to endure as an 8 year old," said Senior Airman Janee Osborn, 9th Comptroller Squadron lead defense travel administrator. "He showed us the reality of it all."