Auschwitz Inmates Miraculously Saved from Death Reunited | IFCJ
Skip Navigation

Auschwitz Inmates Miraculously Saved from Death Reunited

Concentration camp inmate uniform A concentration camp inmate's uniform (photo: Jack Hazut)

In 1944 at the Auschwitz death camp, 50 young men were miraculously saved from the gas chamber on Simchat Torah, the celebratory Jewish holiday that marks both the beginning and ending of the annual cycle of Torah readings. After being stripped and prepared to march to the showers with hundreds of others, at the last minute they were selected for forced labor.

Those still living from this group haven’t been in contact with one another – until now.

The “Auschwitz 50” were the subject of a 2011 column about Mordechai Eldar, an Israeli hoping to locate others like himself dramatically saved that day, who may have survived the war and perhaps are even living still.

Unfortunately, that column proved fruitless. But a guest article elsewhere that mentioned Eldar’s rescue and search for others recently resulted in two emails within a week of each other.

Isaac Schwimmer, a 39-year-old resident of the Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood of Borough Park, mentioned his paternal grandfather, Chaim, who lives a few blocks away and was one of the 50 saved. And Harry Ullman wrote from London to tell of a friend nearby, Hershel Herskovic, also among the 50.

My telephone conversation with Isaac Schwimmer then uncovered yet another living person who had survived the selection: Volvish Greenwald, the grandfather of the brother-in-law of Schwimmer’s wife.

When the initial column appeared in 2011, Eldar, of Herzliya, had already established contact with fellow Israelis David Leitner and Nachum Hoch, and had met Mordechai Linder shortly before Linder died in 2011. And in his email, Ullman mentioned a Manchester, England, resident he had known, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Weiss, another Auschwitz 50 survivor, who had died in 2013.

That makes eight of the 50 who have been identified: six living and two now deceased.

Tags: Facts and Findings

Previous Post

Next Post

Landscape photo of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock in the foreground.

Visit Israel

Here you’ll find an array of useful information on accommodations, transportation, exchanging currency, Israel's climate and customs, and much more. So get the most out of your trip to Israel with the help of The Fellowship.

Read More

About The Fellowship (IFCJ)

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

Read More