Sat, Sep 02, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Holocaust survivor celebrates bar mitzvah

Reuters, HAIFA, Israel

Shalom Shtamberg, a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor, takes part in celebrations marking his bar mitzvah in Haifa, Israel, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Eighty years after he missed the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony, 93-year-old Holocaust survivor Shalom Shtamberg on Thursday celebrated his bar mitzvah with his family and friends in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

Shtamberg was born in Warsaw, Poland, and should have celebrated his bar mitzvah when he turned 13, but instead he was taken to a Warsaw ghetto with his family.

He survived — unlike most of his family — by training as an electrician and acquiring skills that made him valued as a good worker.

On Thursday, Shtamberg was picked up from his home by trainee police officers, who drove him to a synagogue in Haifa where he was welcomed by cheering crowds and flower bouquets.

He was given a prayer shawl and read from the Torah scroll before breaking into dance with guests, including his wife.

“I haven’t fulfilled my mission yet, because I still have things to do,” Shtamberg told reporters.

One of those things is to detail in lectures the horrors of the Nazi camps he survived, unlike his parents and five brothers who were killed.

Recalling his time in the ghetto, he said: “In the beginning I did not speak, I said and told nothing because I stayed a child, aged 13, 14, and [living in] Warsaw ghetto was extremely difficult.”

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