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Boca Raton organization helps Holocaust survivors

Posted at 5:04 PM, Nov 25, 2019

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Decades after one of the deadliest genocides in history, a South Florida local organization is making sure survivors of the Holocaust aren’t forgotten.

It was the 1930s and Samuel Ron was a Jewish kid growing up in Poland. The memories of his early childhood bring a smile to his face.

"I was a good student. I was good looking. I had no problems with the Polish girls either," said Ron.

Then in the Fall of 1938, Ron realized his life would be forever changed.

"They took away your dignity, they took away your rights. You were nobody," said Ron.

At the age of 15, Ron was torn apart from his family and enslaved in a Nazi concentration camp.

"Hunger was the worst part of that camp there," said Ron.

Ron said he was moved to four different camps, with each move bringing more fear of death.

"When you walk out from that kettle car and get into a place, and then you go to a shower, and you don’t know what’s coming out from the shower, gas or water," said Ron.


RAW INTERVIEW: Holocaust survivor recalls time in concentration camp

Stories like Ron’s are what sparked Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services to help survivors.

"Where many people think well aging Holocaust survivors are passing away, what we find is that there are still many Holocaust survivors living longer," said Danielle Hartman, the President of Jewish Family Services.

Hartman said they currently help around 1,000 survivors, but she estimates the actual number of local survivors could be in the thousands.

Now with an increased number of survivors asking for help, the organization is amping up its services to make sure that community has adequate housing and food to eat.

"So where, as an older adult may go into an assisted living situation and that’s fine for them, Holocaust survivors do not fair well in institutionalized settings. So our main goal through our Holocaust program is to keep Holocaust survivors aging in place," said Hartman.

Inspiring people like Ron to step up share their story.

"The first 20 years, we didn’t want to talk about it. Now you can’t stop me from talking about it," said Ron.

To learn more about Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, click here.