This year was the tenth year that the Perth Amboy, New Jersey, reached out to Heshy Rubinstein, CEO of the Yizkor Foundation, to request that he make appropriate arrangements for marking Holocaust Remembrance Day for the Town.
Founded twenty-two years ago by Heshy and his son Yossi Rubinstein, the Yizkor Foundation’s mission is that of perpetuating the testimonies of Holocaust survivors to educate future generations. To date, the organization has collected nearly 1,000 video testimonies of survivors.
This year, Heshy brought Mr. Samuel (Shmuel) Beller, a Holocaust survivor, to inspire attendees on Monday, April 24, at Perth Amboy City Hall. Shmuel, the sole survivor of his family, spoke about his life experience during the Holocaust.
Born in Oswiecim, Poland, a short distance away from what would later become the infamous Auschwitz, he attended a local Talmud Torah until the war broke out when he was twelve. On September 1, 1939, Nazis took over Oswiecim. Within two weeks, all of the Jews were evicted from their own stores, followed by being kicked out of their own homes and forced to live in basements a few months later.
Shmuel moved to Sosnowitz shortly afterward and never saw his parents or siblings again. In Sosnowitz, he worked for a clothing manufacturer in the morning and cleaned homes later in the day. From Sosnowitz, he was relocated to a number of forced labor camps and endured a death march.
After the liberation in 1945, Shmuel spent three months in the hospital and then immigrated to America, where he lives today in Brooklyn.
Other speakers during the somber occasion included Mayor Helmin J. Caba, who addressed attendees, as did Herschel Chomsky, one of the few remaining Yidden in Perth Amboy and son of the last Orthodox rabbi. The Town presented Shmuel with an award and thanked him for coming to relay his story and to add his voice to those who have made it their mission to make sure we never forget.
Both Heshy and Yossi addressed attendees. Yossi, the grandson of Holocaust survivors on both sides, spoke about growing up without second cousins. Yossi is credited with launching the Yizkor Foundation twenty-two years ago and recording the first video
testimonials of survivors. Since then, both Yossi and his father, Heshy, have traveled around the world for interviews, including trips to Hungary, where Heshy can speak the language, and trips throughout Europe, Canada, Eretz Yisroel, New York, and Florida.
To hear Shmuel Beller speak and countless other survivors, visit the Yizkor Foundation’s YouTube channel HERE.