This is an inspirational story in my opinion. I would hope that I could be this brave, but who knows. I have an easy comfortable life. I don't think you ever know until you are faced with a particular situation.
Auschwitz Escapee Herskovic Dies at 91 Tue Mar 7, 11:12 AM ET
William Herskovic, who escaped from Auschwitz and helped inspire Belgium's resistance to the Nazis during World War II, has died at the age of 91.
Herskovic died Friday at his Encino home after a lengthy battle with cancer, said his daughter, Patricia Herskovic.
Three months after being sent from Belgium to Auschwitz, Herskovic escaped by cutting through a chain-link fence with two other prisoners using a pair of wire cutters he had hidden. It was the first night of Hanukkah in 1942.
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 Herskovic had embedded in the heel of his shoe.
In his prewar home of Antwerp, Belgium, Herskovic delivered one of the earliest firsthand accounts of the atrocities of the Holocaust.
The resistance swiftly mobilized, placing bricks on railroad tracks to stop a 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.
Before being sent to Auschwitz, Herskovic operated a photography studio in Antwerp. He returned to photography for at least a decade after the war, but no longer wanted to be an artist.
"The things he saw — his artist's soul was pretty tromped on," Patricia Herskovic said.
In Los Angeles, he bought Bel Air Camera in Westwood, which his family still owns.
Herskovic is survived by three daughters, two brothers, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
4 years ago