Ragdolls author to speak at BTC

Henry Golde, a native of Poland who spent five years in nine different German concentration camps during World War II, will appear at Blackhawk Technical College on Thursday, Sept. 26, to tell listeners of his experiences growing up in the midst of the Holocaust.

The session will begin at noon in the North Commons on Blackhawk’s Central Campus.

In his talks, Golde describes the horrors of Hitler and the Nazi’s so-called Final Solution from the perspective of a child and expounds on what the extreme hate and prejudice he suffered can do some 70 years later. 

Golde, whose parents and brother were exterminated by the Nazis, came to the United States in 1952 after spending

seven years following the war in England. He settled in Milwaukee in 1954 and has lived in Wisconsin ever since.

He is the author of “Ragdolls,” a book published in 2002 that details his experiences of working as a slave laborer in German munitions plants and surviving the Holocaust that saw 6 million Jews murdered by the Germans.

Golde is a popular speaker on the subject but did not begin offering his message until long after establishing his life in Wisconsin.

“If you speak up about it and you make people aware of what happened, it might not ever happen again,’’ he once told the Wisconsin Historical Society in its series on Wisconsin residents who survived the Holocaust.

Golde was born in Plock, Poland, in 1929. His family was forced into a Jewish ghetto in the city following the German occupation in September, 1939. Six months later, Golde was separated from his parents and brother to begin working in German factories. His family was gassed in 1943 at Treblinka, a German run extermination camp in Poland where it is estimated more than 1 million Jews were killed.

Golde eventually was liberated by the Russian army in May 1945. In June 1945, he was airlifted to England where he spent the next seven years and learned the tailor trade. In 1952, Golde immigrated to the United States and lived in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania before moving to Milwaukee. He has since lived in Merrill, Neenah and Appleton.