Mustangs get insight into Holocaust experience

Josie Plakyda – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Friday morning Mustangs from Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology, Human Geography, and World History classes gathered in the school media center for a Holocaust presentation.

Holocaust advocate and public speaker David Milberg spoke to Mustangs about his mother’s experience in the Holocaust and how she escaped Nazi Germany in the early 1940s.

Milberg’s mother, Helga Weiss Milberg, escaped Germany around 1940. She was only 10 at the time and escaped with a couple whose mission was to rescue as many children as possible.

The couple’s names were Gilbert and Eleanor Krause. In 1939, they traveled from their home in Philadelphia to Nazi-occupied Vienna to rescue 50 Jewish children.

The documentary “50 Children: Mr. and Mrs. Kraus’ Rescue Mission,” details the heroic quest. Eleanor Kraus’ diary entries are interspersed with commentary from Jewish scholars and interviews with nine of the refugees.

In “50 Children,” Helga Milberg recalls the overcrowded conditions that Jewish residents were forced to endure after Germany’s “Anschluss,” the annexation of Austria. A massive Nazi flag flew outside their building, which they were told had to be spotless or they would all die.

One of Helga’s stories, which David shared, involved Nazi soldiers luring children into the woods under the guise of outdoor recreation before unleashing their German shepherds for attack practice. A few children were killed, and others were maimed by the dogs. Guards threatened the survivors’ families with death if they spoke out.

David Milberg spoke to the students about his mother’s travel to the U.S., including leaving her parents behind and starting her new life as a 10-year-old orphan. Her mother was executed in Dachau concentration camp, but Helga’s father was able to make it to Detroit, Michigan where they reunited.

The two stayed in the U.S. for the remainder of their lives. Helga went on to become a Holocaust public speaker, appearing at military bases, museums, schools, and more until her death in 2012.

In addition, Helga became a dog trainer for handicapped people, advocating for service dogs to be allowed onto airports, into restaurants, cruises, and more.

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Helga’s legacy is celebrated at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History where her dress, teddy bear, and documents are permanently on display.

David hopes to continue her legacy as well, telling her story to school, museums, and crowds everywhere, spreading the truth of the Holocaust bringing awareness to the horror. If Mustangs have any questions for David Milberg, his email is