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Survivor remembers escape from Holocaust via Kindertransport

For more than a decade, Holocaust survivor Dave Lux has been traveling around Southern California telling people about his experience as one of the 669 children on the Kindertransport, a rescue effort before World War II that saved nearly 10,000 Jewish children in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

Though he has spoken at numerous engagements and has been a part of several documentaries about the Kindertransport, Lux, 83, of Northridge, said he still gets nervous about public speaking.

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He said that before every presentation, including at a commemoration for World Kindertransport Day at the Burbank Town Center to be held Sunday, he dedicates his speech to his late parents in an effort to calm his nerves.

"I always felt at debt to my parents for having had the bravery and sacrifice that they gave in order to give us [he and his older brother] up," he said.

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When Lux was 5 years old, a woman convinced his parents to put him and his brother, Herman, on a train to be taken to a place that was safe.

Lux said he was too young to remember getting on the train, but he does recall some bits of the boat ride from Holland to England.

"There were many other children on board, and the sea was rocky," he said.

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When Lux and his brother arrived in England, they were lodged in a home for Jewish boys and stayed there for 10 years.

At first, he and his brother were convinced that they would reunite with their parents when the war was over. However, as they grew older and began to understand what was happening, their optimism dwindled.

"We found out about the concentration camps and mass murders and everything else that happened to the Jewish people," Lux said. "I was very worried that the reunion wasn't going to happen, and in fact, it didn't."

The last time Lux and his brother saw their parents was when the boys boarded the train in Slovakia. Lux said he later learned that his parents, who were held in a ghetto in Slovakia, were transported to Auschwitz and killed in a gas chamber.

Lux said that he is grateful for what Nicholas Winton, a British humanitarian who organized the Kindertransport, did for him, his brother and hundreds of other Jewish children. He added that he and his brother would not have survived the war had it not been for his parents' selfless action.

"It's our responsibility to keep telling these stories so people will pay attention to what happened," he said. "And as long as people have knowledge of this happening, it won't be allowed again."

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Anthony Clark Carpio, anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

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Twitter: @acocarpio

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