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Tag: Branko Lustig

04.05.2011 14:15:37

Branko Lustig Celebrates Bar Mitzvah in Auschwitz, older Jews getting Bar MitzvahBranko Lustig, Oscar winning producer, celebrated his bar mitzvah in Aushwitz. Lustig, now 78, performed the special ceremony at the same concentration camp he was once held prisoner.

Born in Croatia, Lustig has achieved greatness within the film industry and philanthropic community. He won an Oscar for Schindler's List and Gladiator.

Lustig was deported from his Croation home to the Auschwitz death camp at the age of 10. A Jewish Journal article outlines his journey.

Although Branko was only 10, he was quite tall and escaped immediate death by passing himself off as a 16-year-old and therefore fit for labor.

He was sent to a nearby coal mine but was lucky again when he was assigned the job of ladling out water to other prisoners, leading a white horse pulling a cart with the water tank.

In the closing months of the war, the boy was transferred to Bergen-Belsen, where, miraculously, he was reunited with his mother. His father did not survive the war.

Lustig was lying on a camp bunk, emaciated, ravaged by typhus and covered with lice, when he suddenly heard some strange musical notes.

“I thought I had died and was in heaven,” Lustig recalled. Actually, the music came from a Scottish bagpiper, heralding the arrival of a company of British liberators. Read more...

On May 2, accompanied by some 10,000 participants, from 40 countries, Lustig celebrated his momentous occasion. This is perhaps the most significant Jewish event and celebration on Polish soil. In an LA Times article he says, "That at 78 I will finally be a man -- I am very excited, and I will tell this to the 10,000 young people standing around me."

The ceremony was broadcasted by the JLTV network. He concluded with these words: “The message I want to share today is the most important one I learned from my years in the concentration camps. It is the message of tolerance. We must all get along.

“We must strive to respect and love one another, so that the horrific days of the Holocaust will never visit us again. Tolerance is my bar mitzvah wish today, and ‘Never Again’ is my hope and my dream for always.”

Older People celebrating bar mitzvah in IsraelLustig is not the only Holocaust survivor to recently celebrate his bar mitzvah. Yosef Kineshtlich, 85, and 20 other Holocaust survivors celebrated their bar mitzvah ceremony.

In a Ynet article Kineshtlich speaks about his belated bar mitzvah. "Just before the war, my parents brought over a rabbi who began teaching me the sermon," says Kineshtlich, who has two children and seven grandchildren. "And then the war broke out and we were taken to the ghetto. In 1943 the ghetto was destroyed, and I never saw my parents or my sister again." Read more here.

  Bar Mitzvah | Branko Lustig | Auschwitz
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