An IDF combat soldier posted this week about his experiences together with his grandfather as they went together to Auschwitz.
His grandfather was a boy of only 10 years old when he was deported to the concentration camp together with his family and came face-to-face with death in the form of the infamous Dr Mengele who was responsible for sending those Jews he deemed were doomed to the gas chambers.
My grandfather was 10 yrs old when he was sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis. 73 years later with his grandson – an IDF soldier, by his side. pic.twitter.com/YUGWo8zVSw
— Leibel Mangel (@LeibelMangel) March 20, 2017
In the words of his grandson who served in the IDF as a combat soldier:
On Thursday I visited Auschwitz with my grandfather – one of the youngest to come out alive.
I was able to feel his pain as he wept. The pain of so many. To see first hand the evil and destruction. The atrocities done to my people. So much death. So much agony. All very real.
However, that is not what I will remember. I will remember walking side by side with my grandfather on the tracks and into the barracks, as hundreds of people surrounded him hanging on to every word. What I experienced, and what I will remember – was the victory, the pride, the celebration of life.
I didn’t see a survivor, I saw a warrior.
I saw the strongest of men.
I saw a man who stared evil and death in the eyes, and did not waver.
I saw a man who rose up from hell on earth, and created an empire.
I saw a man who doesn’t use his past as an excuse, but as a tool to inspire so many others.
I saw a man who could take all the glory for himself, but instead gives it all to GD.
I saw a man who has accomplished so much, and has so much to be proud of, but takes the most pride in his family – 6 children, 39 grandchildren, and (for now) 13 great grandchildren.
I saw a man that all of humanity could and should look up to.
I saw my grandfather.
Thank you Zaidy for showing us the path and for paving the way. Thank you for sacrificing so much for our family, and for our people. Thank you for inspiring me to do better and to do more. I know I will never be even half the man you are, but I will never stop trying.
Thank you for sharing with me a day that I will cherish forever.
Now watch the grandfather telling his incredibly emotional story at the very spot where he got off the train: