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Team Scott is honored to hear from Holocaust Survivor Eugene “Yani” Halpert, who shared his story of hope and perseverance at Scott Air Force Base.


Halpert was just 5 years old in 1942 when he witnessed the rise of antisemitism in his small town of Slovakia, marked by the appearance of a swastika sign with a message of hate.

Subsequently, Jewish families were being rounded up and sent to Auschwitz, under false pretenses that it was a “resort town” with a pleasant atmosphere, as Halpert vividly recalls.

Halpert’s family was one of the few exempted from deportation due to the services they provided to Nazi soldiers.

However, as the war progressed, the threat of deportation loomed over Halpert’s family, leading them to seek refuge in the Tratra Mountains with the help of his father’s business connections.

Eventually, Halpert’s family found shelter in a cave with about 40 other people, enduring cramped and difficult living conditions until they were discovered by allied Russian forces in 1944.

Following their liberation, Halpert’s family returned to their hometown only to discover the devastating loss of friends and family members who did not survive the Holocaust.

Halpert’s story serves as a solemn reminder of the millions of Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust, highlighting the importance of commemorating Days of Remembrance to honor survivors, remember the lost, and work towards a future free from hate and discrimination.

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Caleb Alexander

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