Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins this evening, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. Hashem yikom domom.
- Mirjam Lapid was born in 1933 in Deventer, the Netherlands. In 1943, her family was deported to the Westerbork detention camp and in 1944 was sent to Bergen-Belsen. She returned to the Netherlands in 1945 and immigrated to Israel in 1953. Since 1960 she has run the secretariat of Kibbutz Tzora.
- Shmuel Bogler was born in Bodrogkeresztur, Hungary, in 1929. In 1944, Germany invaded Hungary and the village’s Jews were deported to Auschwitz. His parents and three cousins were sent immediately to the gas chambers. Shmuel and his brother Chaim were sent to a labor camp. In January 1945, the two brothers were sent on a death march to Buchenwald, where the U.S. Army liberated them.
Shmuel arrived in Israel in 1947 and joined the Palmach. He was taken prisoner by the Jordanian Legion when the Etzion bloc fell in May 1948, and became second-in-command of the POWs. After nearly a year in captivity, Shmuel was freed and joined the Israel Police, becoming Southern District Deputy Commander.
- Dr. Thea Friedman was born in 1924 in Chernovitz, Romania. In December 1942, Thea fled the ghetto but was arrested. She was eventually freed with the help of a bribe paid by the Jewish community. She was arrested again in 1943 but was released in 1944 and started medical school in 1945. In 1958 she immigrated to Israel with her family and is an emeritus professor of the Faculty of Ophthalmology at Tel Aviv University.
- Raul-Israel Teitelbaum was born in 1931 in Prizren, Yugoslavia (today Kosovo). His father Josef, a physician, was arrested in 1942 by Italian occupation authorities and sent to a detention camp in Albania, where he was put in charge of the camp infirmary. In 1943, Raul and his mother Paula moved to Albania to visit Josef. When Italy surrendered in September 1943, Albanian partisans liberated the camp where Josef was being held, and the family joined the partisans.
In May 1944, the Teitelbaums were caught by the Germans and sent to Bergen-Belsen. Raul and his mother immigrated to Israel in 1949. As a journalist, Raul has published hundreds of articles and reports about the Holocaust and Holocaust survivors.
- Yisaschar Dov Goldstein was born in 1929 in Bratislava, Slovakia. After Germany occupied Slovakia in 1944, his family was deported to Auschwitz and murdered, while Dov was transferred to a factory in a satellite camp of Buchenwald. In 1946, Dov boarded in illegal immigrant ship and reached Israel after a seven-month incarceration by the British in Cyprus. He was one of the first members of Kibbutz Ein Tzurim and fought in the War of Independence. He taught Talmud and Bible for many years, and guided students and tourists around Israel.
- Abba Naor was born in 1928 in Kovno, Lithuania. In 1944 his little brother Berale and his mother Chana were deported to Auschwitz. “The moment I saw my mother and brother heading towards the train, I realized that was it,” he recalled. Abba was put to work in construction at a satellite camp of Dachau. He reached Israel in 1947, fought in the War of Independence and later worked in the General Security Service, the Weizmann Institute and the Mossad. In 1984-85 he participated in bringing 5,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel from refugee camps in Sudan. He is Vice President of the World Organization of Former Prisoners of Dachau.