More than 66 years later, Fisch — 84 years old now — recounted his experiences to an auditorium at Northern State University filled with more than 300 people on Wednesday.
"I don't want to build a memorial for the Holocaust," said Fisch, a former professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. "I want the young people to learn about humanity."
Fisch's presentation was part of an exhibit hosted at Northern's library, "Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and Nazi Book Burnings." The exhibit, which runs through Tuesday, features several videos about Nazi censorship and book burnings.
"The films in the exhibit are great," said Robert Russell, library director at Northern, "but to actually talk to someone that was there — this is a rare opportunity and I appreciate the opportunity."
Fisch, who lives in Minneapolis, said he never imagined he would be talking about his experiences years later. It was a subject he avoided since he came to the United States in 1957, after he graduated from medical school in Hungary.
"The thing is, the Holocaust was a private thing," he said. "It wasn't nothing to brag about. But it wasn't a secret either."
After immigrating, he became a medical intern and eventually a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. But in the 1980s, he was asked to illustrate something representing the Holocaust for a medical journal in Minnesota.
"I said, I'm not qualified," he said. "(But then) I said, if I don't do it, somebody else will."
While art was a hobby for him at the time, his illustration was republished in the Minneapolis Tribune and lead to him giving his first presentation on the Holocaust.
Since then, his Holocaust-themed art has been exhibited in several shows and he's published four books about the his experiences.
"I never wanted to do anything like this and I never talked like I wanted to do something like this," he said.
But he said he wanted to share what he learned after the concentration camps.
"The Holocaust is not the subject. What we can learn from it is the subject," he said.
One of the lessons he reiterated was humanity.
"There's always someone trying to be humane, even in the most inhumane circumstances," he said in his presentation.
Fisch also recounted his experiences to more than 600 kids from more than five high schools and middle schools in the area earlier on Wednesday.
"I didn't know what to expect," said Russell. "(But) I was very impressed by the students; by their grasp that this was worth paying attention to this."
The idea for Fisch to speak to kids came from Brandi Swalve, an arts and language teacher at Holgate Middle School. Swalve said listening to a holocaust survivor isn't an everyday thing.
"I told the kids an opportunity like this comes to Aberdeen rarely, if ever," she said.
Swalve teaches a nine-week unit focusing on the Holocaust, with students reading Holocaust-focused books. Some students even read Fisch's book, "Light from the Yellow Star."
Yet for her students — and herself — listening to Fisch recount his experiences was the first time they'd heard about it firsthand.
"This supplements what we learned in class," she said. "I think having someone talk about it makes it more real."