SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Gen. William M. Fraser III, U.S. Transportation Command commander, led a group of more than 70 military and civilian workers from USTRANSCOM and Scott Air Force Base, Ill., May 24, as they visited the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in Creve Coeur, Mo.
After being greeted by center staff members and Holocaust survivor Ben Fainer, the guests were treated to lunch in the Jewish Federation Kopolow Board Room and then toured the facilities.
Once the tours were completed, visitors moved to the Holocaust Museum Theater where they listened to Fainer’s account of the Holocaust.
Born in Bendzin, Poland, Fainer was nine years old when the Nazis rounded up all the Jews in his town. Over the following six years, he was shuttled to five Nazi camps.
Fainer, 82, relayed the horrors he witnessed and experienced at the hands of the Nazis as the military and civilian audience members hung on his every word, often gasping in disbelief.
According to Fainer, his mother, brother and two sisters were taken to Auschwitz, where they were sent to the showers and gassed. Of 250 relatives in his family, only Fainer, his father, two aunts and two uncles survived.
Fainer and his father worked for nine months in a labor camp. His father, a tailor by trade, worked with the other men to a factory nearby. Fainer cleaned offices and shined shoes.
He was eventually moved to Buchenwald when he was 13 and stayed on Block 15, next to two crematoriums. “I’ve seen guys shoved into crematoriums,” Fainer said, “while they were alive.”
In the spring of 1945, he was liberated by American troops.
Fainer has helped organize two other visits by military members and developed this event after meeting Fraser during a Veteran’s Day event last year at the Missouri Athletic Club.
Once Fainer finished his presentation, Fraser took the stage to thank all involved.
“(Through) All the sacrifices and challenges you’ve had throughout your life, you obviously have persevered,” Fraser said. ”And I think that is something that can be an example for all of us, to persevere through trials and tribulations.
“To be resilient in our lives is something that is very important,” Fraser continued. “(It’s) a great lesson for all of us, especially for the young folks, because I guarantee you, they are going to go back and tell others, not only your story, but about this special place, so I thank you.”
Fraser then presented staff members with his personal challenge coin, “A small token of my appreciation to each and every one of you for what you do on a daily basis,” he said.
Turning his attention to the audience members he said, “My challenge to all of you is to tell the story. And, number two, let others know about this place.
“Thank you and we look forward to having you (Fainer and the staff) out to Scott sometime.”
- USTRANSCOM -
Scott Air Force Base, Ill. - The American Society of Military Comptrollers recently recognized U.S. Transportation Command’s Deployment and Distribution Cost Based Decision Support initiative with a distinguished achievement award.
Memorial Day to Labor Day, known as the Critical Days of Summer, is the time of year when people see an increase in mishaps as they get out to enjoy the warm weather.
The American Society of Military Comptrollers recently recognized Jessica Krisch, U.S. Transportation Command’s lead budget analyst for all issues relating to Air Mobility Command, with the 2012 ASMC Individual Achievement Award for budgeting.
Peg Nigra, U.S. Transportation Command staff historian, was reminded of the meaning of Memorial Day recently when she talked to a woman handing out poppies made by veterans at the local food store the other day.
The St. Louis Federal Executive Board recognized five U.S. Transportation Command individuals and the Acquisition directorate team at the board’s Excellence in Government and Combined Federal Campaign awards ceremony held May 9 in St. Louis.