My father at Auschwitz

This is a picture of my father, my brother and me in front of the gates of Auschwitz during the March of the Living in the spring of 1999. In 1944, my father said goodbye there to his mother, brother and sister. He was later separated from his father at Plaszow, the camp that was near Schindler’s factory. My father was the only one to survive. To this I day I cannot watch the movie, Schindler’s List, knowing that someone in there was my grandfather, and that he was not saved. It is unbearable to think about.

My father was not liberated at Auschwitz, but he was liberated by the Americans, something for which he is eternally grateful. He returned to Germany in the 1950s, but this time as an America soldier.

Below is an unusual picture. How do you pose with your dad, a survivor of Auschwitz, at the very gate he had entered decades earlier. My brother and I decided independently on very serious looks. My dad is smiling broadly. He made it back, and he brought the next generation he and my mom, Sharon, created.

We as a people are still, and always will be, vital and alive no matter what.

Am Yisrael Chai.


Dad at Auschwitz







Here is a link to my father’s story, including video of his testimony:


4 Replies to “My father at Auschwitz”

  1. Dearest Rabbi, Your dad survived somehow, so that you and your brother could continue his Tree of Life! In the 70’s I was privileged to see his beautiful holocaust sculptures and hear him tell his story to all the Hebrew teachers, I think at CSZ, UHS or both. Like your dad, you,too are artistic. Now, you have four beautiful daughters! Just watch the fruit your family, his family, will continue to bear! עם ישראל חי
    Respectfully & Warmly,
    Dede Domstein

  2. When I read your father’s story I cry but what about our Jewish students at universities all over the country who are being influenced by fellow jews and professors who condem Israel and who don’the cry when they read your father’s story-How do we connect with them and allow them to feel? How do we reach them and open the door to our past and hopefully our future?

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. There really is a lot of good work happening on campuses. The most impact is happening from the students themselves. The peer work is very impactful. We should support groups that support the students, and not just try to come onto campus as adult outsiders.

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