PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Holocaust Survivor David Tuck Shares Life Story With Students

David Tuck, a 91-year-old who survived the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz concentration camp, spoke to a full crowd in the Kern Building Monday night and shared his powerful life story. Tuck’s talk was made possible thanks to Penn State Hillel, Penn State Jewish Studies program, Penn State Democrats, Students Against Sexual Assault, and CUFI (Christians United for Israel).

Despite his age — Tuck is close to celebrating the 70th anniversary of his escape from Auschwitz with the help of the Allied forces — he delivered an incredibly impactful speech to an appreciative group of Penn State students and members of the community.

“We expected maybe 50 to 70 people to come,” he laughed. “I’m going to tell my president of the organization that I want a raise.”

Tuck shared his dramatic journey of spending more than five years in concentration and labor camps. After growing up in Poland, Tuck and his family were transported to the Lodz Ghetto in Warsaw when he was only nine years old. As soon as he arrived, he was told that he should identify as a 15-year-old mechanic to avoid death.

Like many Holocaust victims and survivors, Tuck became known only by his number: In this case, 176. His meager diet consisted of bread, soup, and coffee, which Tuck said he would put in his shirt and nibble on to make it last longer. As he made his way through multiple labor camps, Tuck adopted the strategy of asking the commanders if he could do anything for them in order to obtain any scraps of food to feed himself.

After two years at the labor camp, Tuck was transferred to Auschwitz, the horrific camp where upwards of an estimated four million people were ruthlessly murdered. Tuck assumed a new identifier, this time tattooed onto his body: No. 141631. Upon entry, he was given a cup, a plate, and a striped outfit.

“I used the plate later as a pillow,” he said.

Despite the terrible conditions, Tuck managed to escape the horrors of Auschwitz and was rescued by the Americans on May 7, 1945. Leaving the camp, Tuck weighed only 78 pounds. He travelled to France and met his future wife, Marie, with whom he travelled to America. Marie had also been in a concentration camp, but the couple escaped the deadly conditions and had a child before settling in the Bronx. The two were married for 54 years.

“If you live with hate, it destroys you,” Tuck said, explaining how he copes with his past experiences. He feels that speaking is his way to impact the world and share the story of the Holocaust.

“As long as I’m alive, I’m going to keep doing this.”

About the Author

Caitlyn Edgell

Caitlyn is a sophomore from Hollidaysburg, PA and is studying Political Science. She is also the Social Media Manager at Onward State. To contact Caitlyn, email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @caitlyn_edgell.


More by Caitlyn

MLK Events Encourage Students To Keep Moving Forward

This year’s events to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. are more than a celebration of the civil rights leader’s life and accomplishments – they are a call to action for all Penn State students. The theme of the 31st year of events honoring MLK is Keep Moving Forward, and organizers encourage students to get involved by using the hashtag #takethenextstep to promote the campaign on social media.

A Guide To THON Special Interest Orgs

Dan + Shay Kick-Off 2015 Homecoming Week With Energetic Concert


Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Students were delayed hours on Tuesday afternoon while trying to purchase on-campus parking permits.

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend