Little Neck man escaped Nazis in Sobibor uprising
"My life is an everlasting victory over the Nazis," he said.On Sunday the Little Neck resident recounted his remarkable story to fellow survivors and future generations at an event at the Margaret Tietz Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica. The center, along with the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center at Queensborough Community College, held its third annual Holocaust memorial concert to honor the experiences of survivors. "We decided to have this concert because there is a lot you can learn about the Holocaust that you can't find in books," said Arthur Flug, executive director of the Holocaust Center.Bialowitz's story was such an example. After spending years in the concentration camp, Bialowitz said he was growing weak and had lost all hope of getting his freedom back."During the six years I spent in Sobibor, I thought about revenge and escape, but it was impossible," he said.Things changed when the Nazis detained Jewish Soviet troops in September 1943. Bialowitz, along with his brother and other prisoners, saw this as an opportunity to escape."These POWs gave us what we needed: leaders with military backgrounds," he said.Within a few weeks, Bialowitz, his brother and 45 other prisoners plotted and executed a daring escape. Bialowitz said he killed several guards, made it beyond mine-ridden perimeter and escaped to the nearby woods, where he and his brother hid until the war was over.Bialowitz's story amazed the crowd, which included other survivors like Lena Goren, 78 of Forest Hills."It's important for us to come together and recognize the people who survived and the people who helped them survive," said Goren, who came through the Holocaust with her family..Elected leaders including state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellrose), state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) and City Councilmen David Weprin (D-Hollis) and James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) were also moved by the story and applauded Bialowitz for his courage.They presented the nursing center and the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center with official government citations and promised to help spread the story of the Holocaust to younger generations across the state."This is a time that we want all Jews to remember," Mayersohn said.The event also featured the music of world-renowned Cantor Sol Zim, who writes and performs traditional and modern Hebrew songs. Zim, who performed at concerts in previous years at Tietz, said he liked singing songs about the Holocaust because he was moved and inspired by survivors' recollections."I want to teach people to do good deeds for each other," he said. "These songs were based on stories that were given to me by Holocaust survivors that I want to tell."His first performance, a song titled "Z'chor" -- the Hebrew word for "remember" - moved audience members to tears."This song is most meaningful to me," said Vivian Feinstein of Forest Hills, whose parents survived the Holocaust. "What really moves me is the emotion of the song."Zim lightened the mood when he brought out the JEM Children's Choir of the Hollis Hills Jewish Center who participated in the next number.Audience members clapped along as the children, ages 6 to 10, performed "Ani Ma-amin," Hebrew for "I believe," which describes the hope the Jews shared despite living through the atrocities of the war."We have gone through so many difficulties, but we still make it," Zim said.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2008 Community News Group