Six Holocaust survivors lit torches at Yad Vashem

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Six Holocaust survivors lit torches in memory of the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust during the official ceremony to open Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, met in advance with the Holocaust survivors who lit torches at the annual Yom Hashoah ceremony at Yad Vashem, May 1, 2019. (Amos Ben-Gershom/Israeli Government Press Office)

Bela Eizenman, Shaul Lubovitz, Fanny Ben-Ami, Menachem Haberman, Sara Shapira and Yehuda Mimon lit the torches at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem  on Wednesday night.

Eizenman, 92, originally of Lodz, Poland, survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and a death march. She is the mother of two children, and has eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Ben-Ami, 89, was born in Baden-Baden, Germany, fled to France and aided the resistance as a teenager. She helped smuggle a group of Jewish children to safety in Switzerland. She has two children and six grandchildren.

Haberman, 92, grew up in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia, and served the Germans doing forced labor while living in the ghetto there. He survived Auschwitz and was liberated from Buchenwald by U.S. Army troops. He has three children and five grandchildren.

Shapira, 86, was born in Romania and lived in ghettos there until all of her family members died. She was transferred to an overcrowded orphanage for Jewish children. After World War II she spent four months in British internment camps in Cyprus before arriving in Israel. She has three children, 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Lubovitz, 85, was born in what today is Belarus, and spent the German occupation hiding in farms and fields, eventually sheltering with partisans in the forest. He stayed in DP camps and lived in France before coming to Israel. His wife was killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in Ramat Gan, Israel, in 1995.

Mimon, 95, was born in Krakow and lived in the city’s ghetto, joining the resistance movement. He was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, later escaping a death march in January 1945 before being liberated. Following the war, he was active in smuggling Jews to Israel. He served in Israel’s Navy and later as a diplomat in Warsaw and Vienna. He has two children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Zipora (Feiga) Granat, 88, born in France to Polish immigrants, will speak on behalf of the survivor community. She served in the Haganah and the Israel Navy, and is active in Aloumim, an organization of children who were hidden in France during the Holocaust. She has three children, 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

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