PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Nearly 70 years after he and his family were thrown into concentration camps by the Nazis, a Suncoast man is sharing his story. Holocaust survivor Cesare Frustaci says he's still fighting antisemitism one speech at a time.
The memories now decades old are still fresh in his mind. "My mother being a Hungarian Jew was expelled from Italy."
At just seven years old they were torn apart. "Because of the Nazis they were establishing ghettos and my mother had to go into a ghetto."
Because his father an Italian composer was Catholic he initially was not forced into the camp with her. "I survived for a number of months hiding in a cellar."
He was later detained in a juvenile camp until the end of the war. "In 1945 the Soviet red army liberated me from the camp."
Cesar as his friends call him says his mother Margit Wolf a trained ballerina visited nearly 200 villages until he was found. "She visited with a picture of mine showing all around if anybody had seen this child."
Memories like this are too hard for many Holocaust survivors to even discuss. "For 60 years I never said anything to anybody."
He no longer remains quite. "When I came to know this situation of the deniers I decided to open my mouth."
He now speaks locally and around the country about the ordeal. Combating he says an active movement of those who deny the Holocaust even happened. "I offer my testimony. Yes, I have seen it. Yes, I was apart of it. Nobody can say that the Jews, Israel, or the United States had fabricated this."
Determined to remind some and teach a new generation about how intolerance should remain intolerable. "It rarely happens that one person can make a difference but I try."
Frustaci is active in speaking to local schools and organizations. He will be speaking at the Hope Lutheran Church in Port Charlotte during a mass there this Sunday at 7pm.