PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Several family members, hundreds, never made it to the death camps. They were slaughtered in place.
With pain and pride, Israeli rabbi Zoberman, from Virginia Beach, still has black-and-white pictures of relatives who were killed during the Holocaust.
“Husband and father who are not in the photo were slaughtered in 1941, August 28-29, when the whole area [in Surny, Ukriane] where 14,000 Jews were arrested and fired with machine guns, “he said.
Her aunt, Basmalka, whose husband is a bank manager, wrote a letter that chronicled a dark chapter in history.
“They don’t have any sign that something terrible like the Holocaust is going to happen. See how things can change so quickly – which is a warning to us, “said Israel Zoberman.
The horror will cost his great grandfather, Rabbi Jacob Zoberman, his wife Deana, and many other family members who were murdered in Belzec death camp, Poland.
Her family fled to Siberia, then Kazakhstan. In 1946, when Israel Zoberman was in Poland where his family was living as refugees, there was a massacre of Jews that left 42 people dead and 40 more injured.
His family had to run away again. From 1947 to 1949, the family lived in the Wetzlar Refugee Camp in the American-occupied zone in Germany. In 1949, his family moved to Israel.
71 years later, Israel Zoberman, founder and spiritual leader Lev Tikvah Temple in Virginia Beach, have a nightmare after seeing a terrifying chapter in history unfold in live television coverage this month.
In a matter of hours on January 6th, the nation witnessed the attacks launched on democracy.
Israel Zoberman has on two occasions served as guest chaplain on the floor of the Senate – the same place where violent mobs are trying to fight to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election on January 6.
One of the two guest events six years ago.
In my prayers [on the Senate floor in 2014] I mention the Holocaust and I thank American democracy – and here I praise American democracy, [and] where I was standing had just been attacked by American kids themselves, “said Israel Zoberman.
Since the attack, Israel Zoberman said those involved in the uprising had changed its view on whether Adolf Hitler’s German history could repeat itself.
“I hated to tell you it could happen. It can happen, even here, [and] become the kind of dictatorship that will engulf its citizens – not just Jews, not just blacks, but everyone else [who don’t agree with their ideology],” she says.
When asked if he spoke of white supremacy, Israel Zoberman replied: “Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.”
Hundreds of people, including business owners, police officers, firefighters, retirees and active troops is under investigation. Israel Zoberman has a message for them.
“I come from a world that is witnessing the destruction of democracy; Germany was a democracy before Hitler took over, so don’t underestimate the freedoms we enjoy, “said Israel Zoberman.
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