Published On: Tue, Mar 29th, 2022

Holocaust Survivors Reunite in Boca Raton

(Photo credit: WPTV)

Sam Ron points to a photo inside his home in Boca Raton.

“This is my house in Poland,” Ron said. “This is after the war. We survived.”

They are all photos of Ron and his family before and after their time in concentration camps, says WPBF News 25. 

“It was terrible. Hunger was the worst thing at the camp,” Ron said.

In all, Ron survived five camps during the war, including a labor camp called Pionki.

“That camp was hard work, very little food,” he said.

After the war, Ron traveled to the United States and has called South Florida his home for 25 years. 

Last week, he was the honorary speaker at an event in Boca Raton hosted by the Holocaust Memorial Museum. There were several holocaust survivors attending, including Jack Waksal.

At his home in Bal Harbour, Waksal showed WPBF 25 News his mementos from his childhood and the war, including a photo of himself after the war ended.

“That’s when I came out of the forest,” he said, referring to where he spent time during World War II, hiding from Nazis.

Waksal said when he arrived at the event, he felt he knew Ron from somewhere.

“He was standing to the side,” Waksal said. “And I said to somebody, ‘I know this guy.'”

Eventually, the event began and included a video about Ron’s life and the camps he survived.

“They say that I was in the Camp Pionki,” Ron said with a smile. “This one guy jumped out from the house and came over to kiss me. ‘You’re my brother! You’re my brother!'”

That was Waksal.

“I went to his table, and I said, ‘Sam! You are alive!'” Waksal said.

Waksal had been an inmate at Pionki, working side by side with Ron. They did not know if the other had survived.

The two men had been apart for 79 years.

“Oh, I was all excited,” Ron said. “This was unusual. It’s 79 years now. We’re 97 years old!”

“You think it’s never going to happen,” Waksal said, shaking his head. “But it did happen.”

“I met a lot of people before this,” Ron said. “But not like this. After 80 years?”

As they talked, the two men realized the similar paths they had taken. Both men came to the United States after the war, settled in Ohio, then both moved to South Florida. They reunited by chance at a dinner in Boca Raton.

“It’s an amazing story. I was so taken by this,” Ron said. “It got me a lot of hope. I was very excited about it.”

Ron and Waksal have spoken on the phone since the dinner and promised to stay in touch.

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