Here’s an uplifting story for your Wednesday evening. Shoshana Ovitz turned 104 years old last week — a rare milestone just on its own. But her birthday was a victory beyond just reaching another centenarian mark; it was triumph over the Nazi hatred that had tried to wipe her family off the face of the earth.
Ovitz is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. When she was sent there as a young woman, she witnessed Dr. Josef Mengele himself take her mother away for his horrific experiments. Her mother did not survive.
After the war, Ovitz met a man whose wife and children had died in the camps. Together, the two of them searched for other surviving relatives, married, and moved to Austria. The couple eventually settled in Haifa, Israel, and had four children, two girls and two boys.
From that family of six, many blessings have come.
Many, many blessings.
Ovitz’s descendants now number into the hundreds, and she told her family that for her birthday this year, she wanted to gather as many of them as possible to pray together at the Western Wall.
About 400 people came.
The photos, shared by the Auschwitz Memorial Museum and multiple Israeli news outlets, show a heartwarming scene of the hundreds and hundreds of children, grandchildren, and continued generations gathered together at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Moving image. pic.twitter.com/hpUgreVOgq
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 7, 2019
One of Ovitz’s grandchildren, Panini Friedman, told reporters that they had worked diligently to have as many family members there as possible, but were still “missing about 10% of them” — meaning there are an estimated nearly 500 people alive now because Shoshana Ovitz survived the Holocaust.
The family viewed the gathering as a triumph over the Nazis, and Friedman described the scene as “very emotional…everyone was there with tears in their eyes.”
The woman who ho survived Auschwitz is Shoshana Ovitz. Her mother was killed by Mengele but in the it was she who was victorious. pic.twitter.com/Xe1zFmOdsB
— United With Israel (@UniteWithIsrael) August 7, 2019
Yeshiva World was more direct, headlining their story about Ovitz’s family reunion as “REVENGE ON HITLER.”
What a great reminder that hatred is doomed to fail. From this one young woman who survived one of the most evil movements in modern human history, hundreds now unite in prayer and triumph.
As Stand With Us wrote in their Facebook post about the family, it’s a “powerful message — the Jewish people live on.”
What a beautiful legacy. May God continue to protect and bless this family. https://t.co/RvBLHyfhZS
— Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) August 7, 2019
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.