tampabay.com

A survival tale of hope and anguish

By MICHELLE JONES
Published April 21, 2007


SPRING HILL - Abraham Gold's memories are a part of history he hopes the world will never forget.

Gold is a Holocaust survivor.

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was April 15, and congregations around the world observed the day, which was set to mark the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April 1943. Members of Temple Beth David in Spring Hill welcomed Gold as their guest speaker.

Gold was born in 1926 in Romania. His family of 10 children was raised by loving parents.

At Auschwitz, where he was taken when he was 18, he not only lost his parents, but two brothers, including his twin, and his two sisters.

"I was the only one, in my family, who survived going to the concentration camps," Gold said.

Auschwitz was the largest of its kind, established by the Nazi regime. It was used to incarcerate, to have laborers available for forced labor and to eliminate the Jews in gas chambers and crematoriums.

Gold believes the only reason he survived was because of his faith in God and how he lived one day at a time, hoping for the best.

"I was forced to work in an ammunition factory, separated from my twin, Martin," he said. "That is the reason I don't have a number on my arm."

And, although he remembers this time with sorrow and anguish, he says now the only thing he hates are people who generalize.

"I'm not a man who generalizes," he said. "If someone killed my brother, why should I kill his son? There are good and bad people in all races.

"I remember marching to the train to Auschwitz," said Gold. "There were three different groups watching. One group was clapping, one group was silent and one group was crying."

He also told the story of when he was released from the camp by the Russian Army.

"There was a (German) woman and her daughter who asked for protection," said Gold. "They thought the Russians might harm them. So I stayed with them for a while."

He lived at home with his brothers for a few weeks and then went to Austria until he learned about an uncle who lived in the Bronx.

In 1949 he came to the United States, met and married Sylvia and brought three girls and one boy into the world. Now, his family has 10 grandchildren.

When he lived in New York he started his own offset printing company.

"I've always taken care of myself," he said. "Those were the days when you come up from nothing."

Gold also volunteered with an ambulance corps in Pennsylvania and later at a veteran's hospital in West Palm Beach.

"You feel good when you volunteer," he said.

Sheila Friedman, of Hudson, a member of Temple Beth David, was one of the people who went to hear Gold speak.

She said a good crowd came to the service, including a group from Grace Presbyterian Church.

"That was very nice; it made us feel good (having them come)," she said. "The service was very beautiful and emotional."

But Friedman wondered what people have learned from the Holocaust.

"What is wrong with the human race when we ignore what is going on in Eastern Europe and Africa?" she asked. "Didn't mankind learn anything? It is really a shame."