April 01, 2022

Holocaust Survivors Reunite in South Florida

Seventy-nine years … that’s how long it’s been since two friends who met during the Holocaust have seen each other.

Attending the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s South Florida Dinner in Washington D.C, 97-year-old Jack Waksal was surprised – and overjoyed – when he recognised one of the guest speakers by the name of Sam Ron, also 97.

“I know this person,” Waksal had thought to himself at the time. “We were like brothers.”

Indeed, the two men met as teenagers at the Pionki Labour Camp in their native Poland during World War II, where they worked like dogs to shovel coal.

“Hundreds of people died, explained Ron. “It wasn’t uncommon to wake up in the morning and find the person next to you cold.”

Yet despite the hardships, Ron and Waksal forged a strong bond. So, it was with sadness that they thought each other dead in 1944 – Waksal escaped from the camp with other Jewish prisoners, while Ron was transferred to a German concentration camp that was ultimately liberated.

Little did they know, they both had emigrated to the United States of America, and even now they both reside in different parts of Florida.

As such, their reunion at the dinner was a heartwarming one, says Ron: “[Waksal] jumped off the seat and came running over to my seat and says, ‘You’re my brother.’ I was very emotional, and I’m normally not a very emotional guy.

“We worked together. We suffered together. It was very much an emotional day, and I hope to keep in touch with him.”

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