photos provided by TRACY BRYANT

No Place for Hate

Horst Cahn’s message rang loud and clear at CCA’s annual No Place for Hate Week held at the school’s campus. “I don’t like anybody to use the word hate. Eliminate that word,” he declared. Horst was a teenager during WWII and survived three years living in Poland’s Auschwitz concentration camp.

Horst’s story was harrowing, yet hopeful, as he always tried to stay positive. Horst was only 16 when he was brought to Auschwitz with his parents. He watched as guards rushed his parents off to the gas chambers. Horst recalled how distraught he was afterwards. However, he was grateful that his parents didn’t have to endure the horrors of Auschwitz. “I felt content because they didn’t have to suffer in the camp, they wouldn’t have been able to survive,” explained Horst.

After three years, the concentration camp was forced to evacuate and take part in a death march to a camp near the Czechoslovakian border. When they arrived at the new camp they received word that Hitler had committed suicide.

In Czechoslovakia, Horst was liberated by the Russians. He then returned to America where he married, became a chef and ran a deli in Encinitas.

After his story was told Horst reminded students about the importance of forgiveness and maintaining positivity. “Never forget, being angry doesn’t help you. I’m in a good mood because I’m alive,” Horst said, before unveiling one of his favorite lines of advice: “The way you shout into the woods, the echo comes back. It’s up to you to be pleasant.”

Horst is the author of the book Loss, Liberty and Love: My Journey from Essen to Auschwitz to the United States. His book is available at and