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Youngest Dachau Survivor

When Yosef Kleinman holds the same striped hat he was forced to wear as a boy in Auschwitz, memories of life in the Nazi concentration camp come flooding back.

Yosef explained, “It was chaos as my family left the train. My father was dehydrated, so I helped him walk. Then a guard separated us into two lines. I went to the right, to life, and father was sent left, to death.”

Yosef saw the black smoke of the chimneys, and a fellow prisoner told him that was his family. Yosef was processed into the camp where he received a jacket with a number and later came face-to-face with the man known as the Angel of Death.  

Yosef said, “Josef Mengele was personally selecting older boys to work in the Dachau camp. I wasn’t big enough to be selected, but when Mengele wasn’t looking I slipped into the older boys’ group. That is the proudest moment of my life, knowing that I cheated the Angel of Death.”

Yosef was the youngest survivor to be liberated from Dachau by the Americans. He made his way to Israel where he fought in the 1948 War of Independence, and he testified in the Nuremburg trials. Now he’s almost 90 and lives in Jerusalem with his wife.  The years, and the physical torment of the camps are catching up to him.  

“I had heart surgery and lost a lot of weight,” said Yosef. “My jaw shrank, and my dentures wouldn’t fit properly, causing sores in mouth and an infection. It was a nightmare, because I couldn’t eat, and it brought back memories of not having food in the camps.”

Yosef doesn’t have much money, and dentures are expensive, so CBN Israel bought him a brand-new set. We even got him his favorite snacks to enjoy with his new teeth. Thanks to the new dentures, his infections are healed.  He’s eating well, and recovering quickly, making his wife very happy.

Yosef said, “I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done. It’s wonderful to be able to eat again and be healthy.”

Thanks to CBN Israel donors, Yosef can enjoy a better quality of life, and that helps keep the trauma of Auschwitz at bay.

“It’s a great feeling to know that as I get older I can look to you for support,” said Yosef. “Thank you for everything you have done for me and other Holocaust Survivors.”

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