ISRAEL— Memories of the Holocaust still haunt Yosef. At just 14-years old, he watched the Germans invaded his home of Hungary.
Within one week, Yosef wore a yellow star. Shortly after that, soldiers forced him and his family into ghettos with thousands of other Jews. Then Yosef and his family, including his 15-year old brother, found themselves as new residents of Auschwitz. The largest Nazi concentration camp.
Through extreme malnourishment and a string of various sicknesses, Yosef spent several agonizing months in Auschwitz. He managed to evade death time and time again. Under the rule of the “angel of death,” Josef Mengele, Yosef can remember the ever-increasing death toll signaled by constant black smoke. He recalls hearing “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Prisoners shouted it with horror prior to death, a memory that still causes him to awake in a sweat.
Due to his small size and young age, he miraculously escaped death as it lurked at every corner. “When I grew sick and thought I would die, I wondered, ‘who will tell my story?’” he said.
Yosef and his brother were transferred to another camp in late 1944. Through perseverance and the hand of God upon him, Yosef was among a group liberated by United States soldiers on April 27th, 1945. He eventually arrived in Palestine where he served in the Givati Brigade. There he fought for the liberation of Israel. Together, Yosef and his brother ran a carpentry business for 50 years.
In his later years, when his oral health began to need attention, Yosef received dentures from a since-discontinued program for Holocaust survivors. But then he lost a significant amount of weight, causing his mouth to shrink. The ill-fitting dentures created sores in his mouth, making eating painful and difficult. And sadly, when Holocaust survivors face a situation where food intake becomes problematic, it raises post-traumatic issues for them. And it increases the intensity of their nightmares and distress.
But thanks to generous partners like you, Yosef was referred to Dental Volunteers for Israel. This clinic partners with Operation Blessing. Because you care, he was able to consult a lab technician who repaired his dentures, easing the pain in his mouth and mind.
Thank you for your heart to remember and care for Holocaust victims. Celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day with us on January 27th as we honor survivors like Yosef!
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