Holocaust survivors and their families were honored yesterday at the Manny Cantor Center in a Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) program commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Buchenwald. Six different survivors (or family members of the survivors) from the community were on hand to light a candle in remembrance. Special guests included Amichai Lau-Lavie and Miriam Schacter, who are connected by this remarkable story:
Napthali Lau-Lavie was entrusted to care for his younger brother, Meir Lau, when the Nazis separated the boys from their parents (during WWII.) They were the only members of their family to survive the Holocaust. The brothers were sent to the Hortensia and Czetochowa camps, then transferred to Buchenwald.
When American troops liberated the camp in April 1945, U.S. Army Chaplain Rabbi Herschel Schacter found Meir hiding under a heap of corpses. The brothers immigrated to what was then British-mandate Palestine, where Napthali became a journalist and diplomat, and his brother Meir became the Chief Rabbi of Israel.
Naphtali’s son and Rabbi Lau’s nephew, Amichai Lau-Lavie, and Rabbi Schacter’s daughter, Miriam Schacter, spoke during the program, which was moderated by Manny Cantor’s Executive Director, Rabbi Joanna Samuels. They told their stories and shared personal memories in honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation.
The program was put on by the Weinberg Center for Balanced Living and the Co-op Village NORC.