Holocaust Survivor and Public Speaker Stanley Bernath Dies

Students from New Tech high school meet Stanley [photo: Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage]

One member of the country’s dwindling population of Holocaust survivors has died.  As a teenager Stanley Bernath spent the last years of World War II in several European concentration camps, including Auschwitz.  After relocating to the Cleveland area and raising a family later in life, he largely kept those memories to himself.

"When the kids grew up, they knew I was a survivor, but we didn’t talk about it," he said in a recent interview at his Beachwood apartment.

But, that changed when a niece asked Bernath to speak about his wartime experiences to her high school class.  It started a 40-year career as a public speaker, and he told his story as much as possible to area schools and community groups.

Efforts are also underway to allow future generations to interact with his story.  In the year before he died, Bernath took part in a program conducted by the Los Angeles-based Shoah Foundation to record his memories with 3-D hologram technology.  He was one of 19 people around the world taking part in the project.  Last month, Bernath expressed enthusiasm for this high tech experiment.

"I think it’s great, because I won’t be around forever.  I’ll be gone, it won’t be very long," he said.

Stanley Bernath died Tuesday afternoon at 92 years old.   

Services will be held at Mount Olive Cemetery, 27855 Aurora Road, Solon, on Friday at 9:30 a.m. Family will receive friends after the service until 3 p.m. at Menorah Park. Visitors will be received at 1824 Caronia Drive in Lyndhurst on Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. and on Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

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