Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Yisaschar Dov Goldstein

Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Yisaschar Dov Goldstein


My father was the rabbi of a community called “Machzikei Hadat”. We lived on Jewish Street in Bratislava, and the synagogue was next-door. In ’42, about 80 percent of Slovakia’s Jews were sent to the camps. There was an underground movement
in the ghetto in Bratislava headed by Weissmandl and his deputy was Gisi Fleischmann. They tried to save the Jews by paying bribes and such like. They negotiated with the German representative and the Slovaks. A friend and I printed the letters, and that’s how we knew what was going on in Poland too. It was Yom Kippur, ’44 the prayer service was really special, the atmosphere was very tense. My father woke me at night and said: “Men khapt”, they’re seizing people. So I took my father to the bunker that we built over the crawl space. My mother took care of the baby and my sister, who was 12, helped her and I said to my sister: You come too. So she said: I’m not leaving Mother. My father and I entered the bunker and when morning came Mother was gone, the baby and my sister were gone, the house was empty, so was the street, everyone had been rounded up. Somehow we survived until after the holidays. In the end they found us. They deported us to Birkenau. The two of us stood before Mengele. Suddenly, my father vanished and I was pushed to the other side. And so, I was left all alone. Yisaschar Dov Goldstein was transferred from Auschwitz to the Niederorschel labor camp in Germany. Since we were a group of religious people from Bratislava, we observed Jewish practice as best we could. We prayed every so often, we observed holidays. Before Passover we came by a handful of flour and baked a small matzah. On Hanukkah we brought oil from the factory so we lit one Hanukkah candle. We tried to preserve our Jewish spirit and we didn’t let them destroy that. Yisaschar Dov Goldstein was liberated at Buchenwald
after surviving a death march. He joined a Bnei Akiva group and immigrated to
Eretz Israel. In ’63 Rabbi Neria sent me to Beer Sheva to establish the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva there. There was only one room, without plaster, no electricity, but we started studying. Slowly but surely the Yeshiva evolved and today it is flourishing. Then I went to Bat Yam and I was a high school teacher. I’ve spent my life involved in education. I’ve raised generations of students. I raised a family, I have 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. This is the family that I established in Israel, and that’s how I rehabilitated myself.

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