Peter Loth’s Story

Survival and Forgivness


Melissa Sikes, Cactus Writer

On March 30th, Peter Moshe Loth, a Holocaust survivor, sat down with Maricopa campus Monday afternoon to share with us his experiences as a child growing up during a time fueled by racism and hate.

Peter Loth was born on September 2nd, 1943, in the Stuttof concentration camp to his imprisoned Jewish mother. It was not until decades later that he discovered the truth surrounding his mysterious past. At the age of 57, Loth decided to research his past and what he had discovered was a shock, even to himself: Loth was a Holocaust survivor.

“I didn’t want to be a Holocaust survivor. Who would?”

He spoke to the crowd. At hearing this news, he began to remember the past he had long forgotten.

Having been raised after the end of World War II, Loth experienced injustice in his youth. Left behind by his birth mother to try and save his life, Loth ended up with his matka, the woman he had taken to be his birth mother for much of his life. He was taken from her and suffered as many of the children had in the aftermath of the Nazi regime. Unlike many of the children he had encountered, he made it out alive and with a story to tell. A story of survival and forgiveness.

One would imagine that a person who had lived the life he had lived would be bitter and full of rage, but that is quite the opposite of who Peter Loth has come to be. He was lighthearted with his recitation, garnering a few laughs and giving hugs throughout his story. Though he is still stricken with sadness when speaking of the events of his past, he spoke about them without a heavy heart. He had learned how to forgive.

“Would you be able to forgive?”
he asked us. Many shook their heads. “I forgave and was forgiven.” He went on to say, “Anger eats you up. You have to let go.” His words resonated with those in the room.

Once he learned how to forgive, he was able to move on with his life. Loth has been married for 29 years and has 8 children who now have children of their own. He is happy and glad to be sharing his story with us.

At the end of the session, Loth answered some questions from the audience:

Q: How did you keep going?

A: I did try to hang myself. It was too much. But I have to keep going so that we can learn something. No matter what, we can overcome. We cannot have fear. That is why I said I would lay my life for anyone.

Q: What influenced you to write?

A: As soon as I had discovered it. Every time I speak about it, I heal and become better and better. Do not hold it inside. Let people know. Don’t feel shame. Heal yourself so you can become a better person. No matter how hard. You never forget, but you forgive. His full story can be read in his book Peace by Piece: A Story of Survival and Forgiveness, available online.} else {