4 days after Worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day, Saul Dreier, founding father of the Holocaust Survivor Band on Tuesday made a particular go to to Gainesville on the College of Florida’s Chabad and Jewish Scholar & Group Middle.
Members of the family informed Dreier, 97, that making a band wouldn’t be the most effective of concepts and that he didn’t “want it” as he beat abdomen most cancers and was retired for nearly 15 years on the time.
The resilient Dreier didn’t hear. As an alternative, he went to a music retailer and purchased a set of drums.
“This occasion isn’t solely essential, it’s historic,” mentioned Rabbi Berl Goldman, director on the Chabad UF Jewish Scholar & Group Middle. “You’d suppose a long time after the Holocaust, the message of ‘by no means once more’ wouldn’t nonetheless should be defined. It’s simply mind-boggling how a lot bigotry, hate and antisemitism nonetheless exists.”
Dreier was in the identical transport to the Auschwitz Focus Camp 79 years in the past with Oskar Schindler, the person recognized for his heroics in saving 1,200 Jews.
Now, he’s residing a life he by no means thought could be potential by performing and talking all around the world.
The Holocaust Survivor Band warms up minutes earlier than its set on the Chabad. (Ethan Gaer/WUFT Information)
The Holocaust Survivor Band is named a “Klezmer” model group.
Klezmer is an instrumental musical custom of the Ashkenazi Jews of Central and Japanese Europe. By means of his music, he memorializes those that perished within the Holocaust.
“There are 350 million individuals in america,” Dreier mentioned. “No person thought to do what I did by forming the Holocaust Survivor Band.”
At age 14, Dreier’s life in Poland flipped the other way up. He ended up surviving three totally different focus camps all through World Battle II and was lastly liberated at 19.
“Folks ask me how I fought via extreme adversity and the way I’m alive right here at the moment. Possibly mates, possibly God, I have no idea,” mentioned Dreier. “My greatest purpose is to beat antisemitism, and I’m going to do this till I die.”
The College of Florida has the best inhabitants of Jewish college students amongst public universities in america.
Goldman has made it his purpose to welcome each pupil, and make the Chabad a snug and protected place with loads of entertaining occasions for Jewish college students campus-wide.
“Not solely as a Rabbi however as a Jew to see a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor who’s emotional and blissful that he’s capable of fulfill God’s commandments, actually empowers me. It additional helps me deal with what our job at hand is for the following technology,” Goldman mentioned.
UF pupil Jessica Bernstein watches on because the Holocaust survivor band will get the gang clapping their fingers. (Ethan Gaer/WUFT Information)
A significant purpose of the Chabad is to enlighten via the practices of Judaism and to succeed in individuals on an emotional degree. Not solely did they obtain that purpose with college students, however additionally they achieved it by wrapping tefillin with the Holocaust survivor and Polish drummer.
Tefillin are a set of small black leather-based packing containers with leather-based straps containing scrolls from the torah. By wrapping the straps round your arm and brow, it’s an act of respect for God within the Jewish faith.
“I stood right here within the foyer with Saul serving to him lay tefillin,” Goldman mentioned. “Saul began crying as a result of he was so proud to have the ability to lay tefillin in good well being.”
The Holocaust Survivor Band has carried out worldwide in locations comparable to Poland, Israel and Brazil.
“I heard concerning the band from a colleague in Germany and I knew at that second we needed to carry the gifted Saul Dreier to Gainesville, so that’s precisely what we did,” Goldman mentioned. “His technology died as a result of they have been Jewish. In the present day’s technology’s problem is to dwell.”
The Chabad supplies shabbat dinners each Friday evening and hosts particular occasions all year long. The Holocaust Survivor Band may have taken house the primary place trophy, in keeping with the Chabad Programming Director, Amit Sapir.
“I obtained a first-hand alternative to see what it’s like to like as an alternative of hate,” Sapir mentioned. With the rising rise of antisemitism, this efficiency stuffed my coronary heart with pleasure.”
Goldman and the Chabad remind the Jewish neighborhood to observe the Torah. Sapir is a heavy believer within the Torah and now has one other perception system resulting from Dreier.
“After watching a efficiency like this, I really feel as if I ought to increase my future youngsters via Saul’s virtues,” Sapir mentioned. “He had a smile on his face and drumsticks in hand at virtually a century outdated. It was an evening of inspiration to all.”
One attendee of the occasion research archaeology, particularly Holocaust survivors.
“Seeing someone of the “Holocaust” technology with my very own eyes somewhat than studying about it in a textbook was unimaginable till tonight,” mentioned Kyla Morales Hanks, a fourth-year UF pupil.
The evening concluded with the yellow sunglasses-wearing Dreier answering questions from the gang. Folks within the crowd started to cry at a number of of the tales Dreier informed — all whereas he saved a smile that went ear to ear.
The evening ended with one heat assertion from Dreier.
“I’m a Gators fan.”
Eva Landers and her granddaughter danced round throughout the survivor band’s efficiency. (Ethan Gaer/WUFT Information)