Two men who were friends in a labor camp during the Holocaust were unexpectedly reunited after 79 years.
Jack Waksal and Sam Ron were slaves in Poland’s Pionki Labor Camp until the former ran into the forest and separated. Sam was transferred to another camp and eventually released.
Neither knew if the other had survived until Jack went to a luncheon hosted by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in South Florida. Sam delivered the keynote address at the Boca Raton event, which was attended by other Holocaust survivors.
When Jack arrived and saw Sam, he said he thought he recognized him from somewhere but couldn’t place him.
“He was standing to the side,” he recalled. “And I said, ‘I know this person.'”
Before the event began, a documentary depicting Sam’s life and the various camps he endured was shown. He was at Camp Pionki, and his real name was Shmuel Rakowski, according to the information. That’s when Jack realized why he looked so familiar: they were former Pionki campmates.
“Sam!” As he dashed over to Sam’s table, Jack said. “You’re still breathing!”
“This one guy ran out of the house and ran over to kiss me.” ‘You’re my younger sibling!’ ‘You’re my younger sibling!'” Sam described his emotional reaction.
“Oh, I was overjoyed,” he recalled. “This was unusual. It has now been 79 years. We’ve been here 97 years!”
It was significant to find someone else who had gone through what they had.
Jack claimed he was forced to stand for 24 hours or risk being shot. He eventually fled to the jungle.
Malnutrition was described by Sam as the “worst thing” in the detention camps. During the war, he survived five different camps, including one in Poland.
Both made it to America, mostly to Ohio, where they lived for a long time before relocating to South Florida. Until that fateful dinner, they had no idea they were related.
Sam visits schools on occasion to share his experiences with the next generation.
“I try to teach them not to hate, to have a lot of hope, and to believe in yourself,” he said. “This is what I did, this is how I survived because I believe in myself.”
According to NBC reporter Ari Odzer, the pair have avenged themselves against Adolf Hitler by living long, prosperous lives, operating enterprises, and enjoying the affection of their families.
“It’s an incredible story.” “I was completely captivated by this,” Sam remarked of their reunion. “It has given me a lot of hope.” “I was ecstatic about it.”
“You believe it’ll never happen,” Jack said. “However, it did occur.”
Sam lives in Boca Raton, whereas Jack lives in Bal Harbour. The long-lost buddies are separated by 40 miles but are determined to stay in touch. After all, they must have a lot of stories to tell each other, spanning 79 years.