MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. - Born in 1926 in Kraków, Poland, Holocaust survivor Ed Mosberg describes life as a young boy as normal, happy, and filled with love. That all changed when Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939 — the start of World War II.
"I had my parents, I had two sisters and all of them were murdered by the Germans in the concentration camp," Mosberg said.
Approximately 3 million Polish Jews were murdered, which was about 90% of the country's pre-war Jewish population. The horrific images of the Holocaust will forever be etched into Mosberg's mind and nightmares. He describes the brutal actions he witnessed by the SS, which was one of Hitler's most ruthless units of Nazi soldiers.
"The SS would rip the child out of the mother's arms and grab the child by the foot and hit the head against concrete wall, killing the child instantly," Mosberg said.
With immense luck on his side and oftentimes quick wit, Mosberg miraculously survived a Nazi ghetto and multiple concentration camps. One of those camps was called Płaszów, which was highlighted in Steven Spielberg's Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List.
"This was the beginning of Amon Göth," Mosberg said.
Göth was the commandant of Płaszów. He was a merciless killer who took pleasure in shooting Jewish prisoners at random from his balcony. Mosberg came face-to-face with Göth every day he was imprisoned there.
"I start working at his office, cleaning it up, sorting things, and any time he walked in you never know who would be dead or not," he said.
In the present, Mosberg lives in Morris Plains, New Jersey, and is blessed with a beautiful family — three daughters, six grandkids, and four great-grandkids. His wife of 72 years, Cecile, whom he first met in Poland in 1942, passed away in 2020. But she is forever by his side — a locket with her photo, always close to his heart.
When Mosberg isn't speaking lovingly about his late wife, he's often speaking publicly about his painful past. He's known among the survivor community for his outspoken remarks.
Mosberg is often in public wearing an authentic Nazi prisoner uniform as a way to stand out and leave a strong impression on all those who hear his story. Mosberg and I were both in Poland in April 2018 participating in an event called March of the Living. On that day, I captured video of Mosberg in uniform on stage in the Auschwitz concentration camp telling his tale to thousands of people from across the globe. He continues to find the strength to speak out, even though it brings back different unimaginable memories every time.
"In the stone mines, I was carrying boulders on my shoulders from early in the morning until late in the evening, going up and down, up and down," Mosberg said.
He has returned to Poland dozens of times over the years. He even was there in 1946 to witness Amon Göth's trial for Nazi war crimes. Not only does Mosberg still have the camera he brought on that trip but he developed and saved the photos he captured of Göth. Mosberg has also managed to collect a trove of original war documents and artifacts. He just turned 96 and has no plans of slowing down his mission, which is to keep the memories alive.
"This is a must that I have to talk about it because if I don't talk about it no one would know and this is my duty and obligation," Mosberg said. "As long as I live I will be talking about it."
And we will be listening.