By Leah Schmalz

When Irving Bienstock saw the Nazi military starting fires in synagogues, smashing windows, and raiding the houses of Jews on the night that is now known as Kristallnacht, his hope of survival wavered. “At that moment I thought I was going to die,” he said, as he recounted his story to eighth grade students at Mint Hill Middle School last Monday.

Bienstock covered his experience in Germany during the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power, when Jews weren’t permitted to ride buses, visit parks, or continue to run their businesses. Most of his extended family was killed and his father was forced to flee. Finally the rest of the family was able to escape the country. His father eventually made it to the United States in 1939 and the rest of the family joined him the following year. Bienstock entered the military and returned to Europe five years later to fight in World War II.  […]