Apr 27, 2012

Fort Hamilton Holcaust Day Event Hosts Satmar Grandson

This is very interesting. Fort Hamilton Army Base hosted a Holocaust tribute on Holocaust Day last week. The guest speaker was a fellow named Rabbi Chaim Teitelbaum - a grandson of the Satmar Rebbe.

From the Facebook page reviewing the event:
Fort Hamilton held its Holocaust observance at the community club April 19 to honor the millions of European Jews who perished or survived the Holocaust, the deliberate extermination of Jews by the Nazi regime in Germany led by Adolf Hitler during World War II.
Considered a very good friend by Col. Michael Gould, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton commander, Rabbi Chaim Teitelbuam was invited as the guest speaker who shared the stories his great grandfather, a survivor of the Holocaust, told him as a child.
He spoke of how his great-grandfather was one of the happiest children alive until he lost both his parents at age 11. Now an orphan, stability was scarce as he often had to sleep with several neighbors while others provided him with warm food and clothing.
“Despite what he was going through at such a young age, he never lost his faith,” Teitelbaum said. “On the contrary, he engulfed himself deeply into his religious studies, opposite of what his younger brothers did, who eventually fled to join the Communist Party, which broke my great-grandfather’s heart.”
Later, his great-grandfather married and had a family. He soon was promoted to chief rabbi and began to enjoy a happy and loving lifestyle as he often played with his children. Then in 1944, that all began to drastically change as the Nazi Regime rose to power. Teitelbaum said the Nazis forced his great-grandfather and his family onto trains to travel for days without food or water.
“My great-grandfather couldn’t bear the cries of his children as they begged for small bread crumbs and drops of water,” he said. “No parent could imagine that about their children, yet when they reached their destination, his child was snatched from him and brutally beaten to death right before his eyes as he stood helpless.”
Teitelbaum continued to share his great-grandfather’s story as spectators listened closely.
“Then,” he said, “the rest of his family was stripped from him as they screamed and pleaded for a good-bye kiss and hug. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing in the world could describe the pain of watching your child’s small hand waving in eternal good-bye. He witnessed so many tragedies with the killing of many of his friends, but no tragedy was worse than having his family stripped from his arms and watching them killed by the hands of the Nazis in the gas chambers. As he stood and watched the smoke rise from the chimneys of the chambers, he knew that he would no longer see his wife and children again.”
Teitelbaum said that his great-grandfather’s fate surely would have been the same had it not been for the U.S. Army rescuing him and thousands of other Jews from certain death at the very last moment . He credited his great-grandfather for his strength, faith and courage to find enough good in life to start a new beginning. He died six years ago at the age of 93.
“I don’t know how, but he always had a smile on his face,” Teitelbaum said. “I don’t know how he had the strength to play with me when I was a boy, but he did.
“He knew something that we all should know,” he said. “It makes no difference what punches life throws at you.
Nothing but nothing can break your heart and nothing but nothing is stronger than you.” He shared his belief, also shared by his great-grandfather, that had it not been for the United States and its support, he and many Jews would not be here today.
“Even as all other countries turned their backs, including Germany, when Israel was facing a similar Holocaust of its own in 1974, the United States of America was there and always has been, and there is no greater country than America,” he said. “And Israel and Jews around the world, know that when push comes to shove, America will always be there.”
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