Holocaust Survivors
Red Banyan

People who believe that there is no such thing as fate should meet Jack Waksal and Sam Ron, who were Holocaust victims that met during the Holocaust and eventually met again in South Florida 79 years later.

After facing slave work side by side in Poland’s Pionki Labor Camp, the two were separated after Waksal escaped into the woods, and Ron was sent to a different camp and was eventually liberated.

Waksal discovered his old camp comrade was the guest speaker at a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s South Florida Banquet, and neither thought the other had survived. Waksal felt as if he was witnessing a fraternal sibling when he was addressed by his former name of Shmuel Rakowski.

“He jumped off the seat and came running over to my seat and says you’re my brother, I was very emotional, I’m normally not a very emotional guy,” Ron stated.

They were both youths when they were imprisoned, but they managed to immigrate to the United States, but really Ohio, where they lived for 40 years without knowing each other before eventually relocating to South Florida.

“We were pushing coal to the oven to make heat to make power, and Jack said he worked at the same place! Hard work, bad conditions, cold, hunger, hundreds of people died. It wasn’t uncommon to wake up in the morning and find the person next to you cold.” Ron said.

Despite the fact that they live 40 miles away, the two men are committed to keeping the survivor’s flames burning and to fill in the huge gap in years with life stories. Ron makes a guest appearance at schools on occasion to speak to students about his experiences.

“I try to teach them not to hate, and to have a lot of hope and believe in yourself, this is what I did, this is how I survived because I believe in myself,” Ron said.

According to Jack Waksal and Sam Ron, they got revenge on Adolf Hitler by living long and prosperous lives and having children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.