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Auschwitz escapee William Herskovic dies in Encino at 91
Bakersfield Californian ^ | 3/7/06

Posted on 03/07/2006 10:01:05 AM PST by NormsRevenge

William Herskovic, who helped fuel the Belgian resistance during World War II after escaping from the Auschwitz concentration camp, has died. He was 91.

Herskovic died Friday at his Encino home after a lengthy battle with cancer, said his daughter, Patricia Herskovic. He was the longtime operator of Bel Air Camera in Westwood, which he opened soon after moving to Los Angeles in 1957.

Three months after arriving at Auschwitz, Herskovic fled the camp on the first night of Hanukkah in 1942, cutting through a chain-link fence to freedom with two other prisoners using a pair of wire cutters he had stashed in the snow. The three hopped a train to Breslau, Germany, but a local rabbi threw them out when they tried to tell him about the horrors at Auschwitz.

For the next three weeks, they trekked across Nazi-occupied Europe by bus and train, financing their journey with proceeds from a 3-carat diamond that Herskovic had embedded in the heel of his shoe. Herskovic met with resistance leaders in his prewar home of Antwerp, Belgium, relaying one of the earliest firsthand accounts of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

The resistance swiftly mobilized, placing bricks on the tracks to stop a transport train packed with hundreds of Jews bound for the camps. About 250 prisoners escaped.

"His survival saved hundreds," the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said in a tribute.

Herskovic spent the next three years in and out of hiding in Belgium. In 1945 he married Mireille, the younger sister of his first wife, who had been murdered in Auschwitz along with their two young daughters.

He had operated a photography studio in Antwerp as a teenager and returned to photography for at least a decade after the war. But he no longer wanted to be an artist.

"The things he saw - his artist's soul was pretty tromped on," his daughter said.

In Los Angeles, loan officers talked him into buying the Westwood camera business that his family still owns. Almost 50 years after escaping, Herskovic sat down with his film-producer daughter and wrote a memoir of the Holocaust.

In addition to Patricia, Herskovic is survived by two other daughters, two brothers, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel; US: California
KEYWORDS: auschwitz; dies; encino; escapee; herskovic; holocaust; israel; theshoah; wwii

1 posted on 03/07/2006 10:01:06 AM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Wow.


2 posted on 03/07/2006 10:04:45 AM PST by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings............Modesty hides my thighs in her wings......)
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.


3 posted on 03/07/2006 10:06:20 AM PST by firewalk
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To: NormsRevenge

Now that story would make a heckuva movie. Maybe Spielberg can get his mind right again and look into it.


4 posted on 03/07/2006 10:08:45 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

Maybe he could play the German Rabbi.


5 posted on 03/07/2006 10:11:01 AM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Great story. Why can't we get a movie made about this instead of the braindead crap Hollywood is producing? Do we REALLY need another movie re-make of some bad 60s sitcom? These kinds of stories are just screaming for Hollywood to produce. Instead we get "Hustle and Flow" and "Syrianna."

Anyway, God rest this brave hero.


6 posted on 03/07/2006 10:15:45 AM PST by MikeA (Rigged polls are what the news media uses to measure impact of their falsified anti-Bush reporting)
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To: MikeA

Interesting background. Bel Air Camera was kind of a "mega store" setup before the Best Buys, etc., of the world took over. Very successful, if I recall. Good for him.


7 posted on 03/07/2006 10:21:59 AM PST by ErnBatavia (Meep Meep)
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To: NormsRevenge

God rest his soul..How many of us could go through what these people did and survive?He is at peace now..


8 posted on 03/07/2006 10:22:06 AM PST by Beth528
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To: Skooz

A great man has passed on.

It figures that the a rabbi would not believe such stories. I have little use for the rabbinical groups. Probably was a reformed rabbi too.


9 posted on 03/07/2006 10:27:55 AM PST by GaryMontana (islam, the Nazis of today must either be destroyed -- or the human race will perish)
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To: ErnBatavia

Bel-Air Camera is still a thriving concern.
A MUST-visit for shutterbugs while in West Los Angeles.
Prices are close to or just slightly higher than "big boxes" and service is
simply orders of magnitude what you'd get at the big boxes.


10 posted on 03/07/2006 10:45:01 AM PST by VOA
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To: NormsRevenge

"Almost 50 years after escaping, Herskovic sat down with his film-producer daughter and wrote a memoir of the Holocaust. "




Does anyone know if this is in written form, for sale? I would like to be able to read it.

G-d rest your soul, Mr. Herskovic.


11 posted on 03/07/2006 10:50:41 AM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: NormsRevenge

bump


12 posted on 03/07/2006 10:50:55 AM PST by fso301
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To: VOA

I spent a lot of time and money at Bel-Air Camera in 70's and 80's. You payed a little more but the staff was very knowledgeable. I would guess there days are numbered because of all the discounters out there.


13 posted on 03/07/2006 10:52:10 AM PST by Uncle Hal
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To: dfwgator

Let's hope Spielberg never hears about him.


14 posted on 03/07/2006 10:55:54 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Especially if Herskovic used *gasp* guns in his escape.


15 posted on 03/07/2006 10:57:46 AM PST by dfwgator
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To: GaryMontana

"It figures that the a rabbi would not believe such stories. I have little use for the rabbinical groups. Probably was a reformed rabbi too."

Oh please, this is the kind of bigotry that started the Holocaust in the first place. One rabbi does something, possibly out of great fear, and you're willing to blame all rabbis? Am I meant to blame the entire church because some priests collaborated in the Holocaust and others have been involved in child abuse? What about the many millions of gentiles who collaborated in the Holocaust? Am I meant to blame all of Christian Europe?

In any event, my guess is that you know next to nothing about rabbis, or indeed the Jewish religion, outside of the many prejudices that have been inculcated in you by others.


16 posted on 03/07/2006 10:58:59 AM PST by Hannah Senesh
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To: GaryMontana

I think I would have to cut the rabbi a little slack.

The stories they told him were probably so monsterous as to be unbelievable to a rational person.

He probably just thought they were nuts.


17 posted on 03/07/2006 11:01:22 AM PST by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings............Modesty hides my thighs in her wings......)
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To: GaryMontana

Reading through some of your previous posts, I've just learned that you are Jewish.

Shame on you!


18 posted on 03/07/2006 11:02:47 AM PST by Hannah Senesh
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To: Skooz

"He probably just thought they were nuts."

He was afraid for his life. Think about who he was and where he was living.


19 posted on 03/07/2006 11:03:45 AM PST by Hannah Senesh
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To: Hannah Senesh

Yes, but I think the stories were just so unbelievable that he could not have fathomed that such things were actually happening.


20 posted on 03/07/2006 11:08:13 AM PST by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings............Modesty hides my thighs in her wings......)
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To: Brad's Gramma; All

http://www.berghahnbooks.com/titles/Herskovic.htm

ESCAPE TO LIFE
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE HOLOCAUST

The Memories of Maria and William Herskovic

Patricia Herskovic


Caught in the crossfire of Nazi oppression, two people triumph in this story of courage, luck and passion during one of the darkest moments of the 20th Century. After surviving a perilous escape from Auschwitz's infamous death camps, William Herskovic miraculously made his way across Nazi-occupied Europe. Becoming one of the first recorded eyewitnesses of Hitler's atrocities, he alerted the underground, and was eventually credited with the rescue of hundreds, perhaps thousands, bound for the gas chambers.

Mireille, still merely a teenager, managed to hide her parents in attics and rural homes, risking her life daily to venture out for the food to keep them alive. The Herskovic family survived the perils of the Holocaust with their souls and spirits soaring.

"Some historical events are so powerful, touching so many lives, that they can never become mere dusty facts on a page. They become woven into our minds, perhaps our very DNA—the way Patricia Herskovic still feels the loss of her sisters she never knew. In telling the story of her father's Holocaust survival, and so many others who never escaped, Herskovic takes us on a poignant journey of the heart. One of danger, loss, endurance, and ultimately triumph." —David Brin, NY Times best-selling author of The Postman and Earth

"[William Herskovic's] survival saved hundreds." —Simon Wiesenthal Center Tribute

Patricia Herskovic was born in Belgium and immigrated to the United States as a child. She received her degree in political science from UCLA. Currently a motion picture producer, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.

2002, 218 pages
ISBN 965-308-152-7 hardback $29.95/£19.95
Distibuted for Yad Vashem Publications, Jerusalem


21 posted on 03/07/2006 11:17:12 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ... https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: dfwgator

Could happen.

Only Stevie would cast Tom Cruise, and the religious persecution part would be from the Evil Jews toward the innocent tea-drinking Muslims.

Don't forget about the noble homosexuals who rescue the Scientologists from Christian attackers at the end of the movie.

Ooooh, aaaah!!!


22 posted on 03/07/2006 11:21:00 AM PST by Emmet Fitzhume (Democrats need adult supervision at all times.)
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To: Brad's Gramma

While deployed to Kosovo, I had the honor of meeting a gentleman who survived the horrors of Auschwitz.

His story changed my perspective on everything in Europe.


23 posted on 03/07/2006 11:22:46 AM PST by Emmet Fitzhume (Democrats need adult supervision at all times.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Well the one time he made a film about this subject it turned out pretty good...


24 posted on 03/07/2006 11:49:06 AM PST by Borges
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To: NormsRevenge

Thank you, Sir! ;)


25 posted on 03/07/2006 12:09:27 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: Borges

Yes but that was more than a decade ago and I suspect his outlook has changed some.


26 posted on 03/07/2006 12:10:32 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Emmet Fitzhume; NormsRevenge
And, on Amazon.

Although, bless my heart (gag) I do SO enjoy buying books like this at Barnes & Noble. It drives them crazy. ;)

27 posted on 03/07/2006 12:12:23 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

About the Nazis? Probably not. He's still quite active in the Shoah Foundation.


28 posted on 03/07/2006 12:16:13 PM PST by Borges
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To: NormsRevenge

May he rest in peace.


29 posted on 03/07/2006 12:18:19 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: Brad's Gramma

Never bought on Amazon.
If I'm lucky , I can get wifey in and out of a Barnes and
Noble or Borders in half an hour.
Sure glad some of them book stores have coffee shops.


30 posted on 03/07/2006 12:21:04 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ... https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: NormsRevenge

I checked B&N's web site. It only has used ones for sale, from private sellers. It says the book is no longer for sale through them.


31 posted on 03/07/2006 12:23:17 PM PST by Bradís Gramma
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.

---------------------------

32 posted on 03/07/2006 3:49:47 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: NormsRevenge; SJackson; dennisw; joan; jb6
>>>>>>>The resistance swiftly mobilized, placing bricks on the tracks to stop a transport train packed with hundreds of Jews bound for the camps. About 250 prisoners escaped."His survival saved hundreds," the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said in a tribute. <<<<<<<

Anyone wonder how many hundreds of thousands would be saved if USAAF and RAF decided to destroy the railway lines to Auschwitz instead of bombing of civilians in Nazi occupied Allied cities?. I guess allied bombs would be more efficient than bricks on a raiway tracks in stoping the trains to the death factory.

Of course, bombing of Auschwitz railway tracks would harm syntetic rubber production in Auschwitz Buna plant and would not be good news to the Standard Oil Co. and their Nazi business partners.

Simon Wiesenthal is gone. Sadly, as the last eyewitnesses are slowly fading away the complete story will never be told.

33 posted on 03/07/2006 4:38:54 PM PST by DTA (never forget !)
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To: Emmet Fitzhume; jb6; dennisw
>>>>>While deployed to Kosovo, I had the honor of meeting a gentleman who survived the horrors of Auschwitz. <<<<<

Interesting. Perhaps you could share more information with us. For exaple, what was the ethnicity of the person you talked to.

Do you know that Kosovo is JUDENREIN today, owing to the sons and grandsons of Albanian Waffen SS division who ethnically cleansed ALL JEWS and 90% of Serbs, Roma, Goranis and others?

Do you know that Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo live 24/7 under armed guard in barbed wire encampments or they got killed?

34 posted on 03/07/2006 4:47:28 PM PST by DTA (never forget !)
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To: DTA

The gentleman whom I am referring to was not a native of Kosovo.

He flew in courtesy of the USO to speak with us.

I cannot remember his name, but I will post it once I find the brochure that was handed out.


35 posted on 03/07/2006 5:51:49 PM PST by Emmet Fitzhume (Mohammed was inspired by Satan; Read 2 Corinthians 11:14 for more information.)
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To: Frank_Discussion

Ouch!

Nicely done.


36 posted on 03/07/2006 7:01:16 PM PST by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: DTA
"Simon Wiesenthal is gone. Sadly, as the last eyewitnesses are slowly fading away the complete story will never be told.

So true. It's up to the current generation to not allow the memory of the millions butchered during the Shoah to be forgotten, especially by those lurking about deliberately stating it never happened.

37 posted on 03/08/2006 12:32:38 AM PST by M. Espinola (Freedom is Never Free)
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To: Hannah Senesh

Shame on you for being a coward and poor excuse for a human being


38 posted on 03/09/2006 12:30:53 PM PST by GaryMontana (islam, the Nazis of today must either be destroyed -- or the human race will perish)
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