Los Angeles Times

As anti-Semitic crimes rise and Holocaust awareness fades, a survivor is always ready to speak

LOS ANGELES - Joseph Alexander lifted his left forearm to show the number.

Nazi guards had tattooed it on him just after he and scores of other Jewish prisoners arrived by cattle car to Auschwitz concentration camp along with the bodies of those who didn't survive the train ride.

"From that moment on, we have no name," Alexander said.


"That was your name."

Alexander is 96. A slight man with a Polish accent, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, he is speaking on a sunny Sunday to a rapt crowd of about 30 at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. He's telling his story about six years and a dozen concentration camps. About how he survived and his family didn't.

He's been giving speeches like these, sometimes three a day, for 15 or so years and has talked to thousands of students. At this museum, he considers himself essentially on call.

For Alexander, there is a growing urgency to telling his story to as many people -

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