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IDF, US Navy surprise Shoah survivor as independence, Dachau liberation coincide

Today is Yom HaAtzmaut - Israel's Independence Day. Please click on the article below to watch a heartwarming 3 minute video, in which the Israel Defense Forces and US Navy bands surprised an Israeli Holocaust survivor in a first ever joint social media project. To mark both Israel’s 72nd Independence Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, the joint band played Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, for a survivor of Dachau.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center, his wife Karen, second from left, and his daughter Charlotte, left, are led by Holocaust survivor Abba Naor, right, as they visit the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau near Munich, southern Germany, February 19, 2017 (Sven Hoppe/pool photo via AP)

After the anthem, Naor did tell the soldiers his story, from his time in a ghetto in Lithuania — where the walls not only kept the Jews in, but also kept anti-Semitic Lithuanians out — to his internment in Dachau in southern Germany, and finally the camp’s liberation by the US Army on April 29, 1945.

“The American GIs — I’ll never forget them. They saved my life. This is something you can never forget,” he said.

“The first American soldiers we saw were Japanese. We’d never seen people like that before,” Naor recalled.

After the war, Naor moved to Israel in 1947, fighting in the War of Independence. He later joined the Shin Bet security service and served in the Mossad intelligence agency, taking part in its Operation Moses to help Ethiopian Jews immigrate to Israel in the 1980s. Read More

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