Holocaust survivor passes on history lessons to JBLM soldiers

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 7 at 7:20 PM

JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. -- When you spend more than 60 years in the Army, you're going to have a few war stories.

But not many veterans can tell as many as Mike Fried.

The DuPont man served in Vietnam for a year, but that's not the war he's usually asked about.

"I was in a concentration camp in the beginning of the war," said Fried, a retired Chief Warrant Officer.

Fried, born in Germany, spent five years in the Westerbork Camp in Holland during World War II.  He was five when his family were imprisoned.

Fried remembers having to wear a yellow Star of David because he was Jewish. He said he'll never forget having to steal food to survive.

"I was my mother's lookout. If I saw Nazis approaching where we were I told my mom," said Fried, "But she always kept us fed."

Nearly 70 years later, Fried volunteers at Joint Base Lewis McChord. He helps process leave requests for the 201st Military Intelligence Brigade.

He was inspired to join the military after being freed from the prison camp as a 10-year-old.

"When the Canadian tanks came in and liberated us, I said to myself, I want to be a soldier and help people," said Fried.

Fried said he thinks his past can teach current soldiers lessons about the horrors of war.

"I hope they never have to go through any of that," said Fried.

Fried turns 80 this year, but has no plans on quitting his volunteer job.

"I love it," said Fried. "I regret I have but one life to give my country."
 

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