The Continued Struggle of the Jews After Liberation
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- Surviving the Holocaust;
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Surviving the Holocaust
Sign In. Use one of the services below to sign in to PBS: You've just tried to add this video to your Watchlist so you can watch it later. Creating an account is free and gets you: Access to High-Definition streaming A personal area on the site where you can access: Favorite Shows Watchlist Viewing History Early access to exciting new features. At the age of 11 in , he and his family were subjected to the harsh anti-Semitic persecution of the Nazis. In , an ordinance was passed that stated that Jews had to leave the city or move into the ghetto, where 15, Jews were crammed into an area previously inhabited by 3, people.
Forced to flee their home to avoid the ghetto, Ben and his family spent the next two years on the run and in hiding through Poland, were smuggled into Hungary and then eventually captured and sent to Auschwitz, where most of them tragically perished. As a young man, Ben was selected to work in the labor camps and by the age of 17 had survived four concentration camps, two death marches and two death trains.
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The day after the three-week death march from Dornhau Labor Camp to Buchenwald, he was put on the notorious, almost three-week death train to Dachau. Only 17 of the over 3, people on the train survived; today Ben is the only living survivor.
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Ben top row, fourth from right and Moshe second row, right Courtesy Photo Three days after Ben arrived at Dachau in April , the camp was liberated by U. Ben was sent to a makeshift hospital at the St.
Ottilien monastery in Bavaria. After several months in a coma, he woke up next to a fellow Polish Jew from Lodz named Moshe Opatovski. Having both survived terrible trauma and lost their families, the pair became great friends. Together they joined a Zionist group and began training for a mission to migrate to Palestine. Just as they were due to depart, Ben learned that his sister Lola had also survived the war. Instead of leaving with his friend, Ben chose to stay behind in Germany to reunite with her, saying goodbye to Moshe. The pair never saw or spoke to each other again.
Ben and his sister migrated to the U. Settling in California, he built a successful career in real estate. Since retiring in , Ben has devoted his life to ensuring remembrance of the Holocaust. Today Ben lives with his wife Jean in Las Vegas.
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He has two daughters, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Read more about the episode below. Providing Support for PBS. Providing support for PBS. We'll Meet Again Choose Station.
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