Holocaust survivors put human face on dark chapter in history

Holocaust survivor Max Epstein was a teenager when his father and most of his extended family perished in the Lodz Ghetto of Poland.

Epstein, who now lives in Highland Park, grew up as an only child in a prosperous Polish home. His father was a lumber businessman from a long line of lumber merchants.

“By 1944, there was nobody left but my mother and myself,” recalled Epstein, now 91, as he spoke Monday to Highland Park High School students during a Holocaust remembrance assembly.

That year, he and his mother were deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were immediately separated. Epstein recalled being marched onto a field for scrutiny, and being selected by a German officer to work for him.