(Originally published on the Evening Standard)
Dr. Alex Hershaft has since spent his life campaigning for animal rights
Polish born Dr. Alex Hershaft believes he survived the Warsaw Ghetto in order to commit his life to stopping the oppression of animals in the meat industry.
Speaking at the final leg of his European tour at the Jewish Museum in London this week, 82-year-old Alex told the astonishing story of how his harrowing experience resulted in a lifelong passion for animal rights.
Having survived the Warsaw Ghetto after his Father was captured and murdered by the Nazis, Alex escaped to Europe followed by the US and Israel, respectively.
Following a successful career as an environmental chemist, a work trip to a slaughterhouse made him realise his true vocation. As a result in 1976 he co-founded the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and became a vegan in 1981.
He says of his experience:
“This is when I finally realised that there was a valid reason for my surviving the Holocaust and a valid way to repay my debt for surviving. This is when I resolved to spend the rest of my life fighting all forms of oppression.”
Ever since, Alex has spent the rest of his life campaigning for the rights of farm animals; as a member of the Advisory Council of Jewish Veg in America, Patron of the Jewish Vegetarian Society, and the current President of FARM.
He compares the treatment of animals in the meat industry to his experience within a concentration camp, including the use of branding and witnessing piles of body parts on a regular basis.
Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK who coordinated his tour, said of Dr. Hershaft:
“His life story is unique and compelling – from suffering unimaginable injustice and oppression first-hand to dedicating his life to freeing others from the same. All of us who hope for a kinder world will, I am sure, be deeply moved by his presentation.”
Watch the video to find out more about Alex’s remarkable story.