As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau – the largest concentration camp during the Holocaust- the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation (NCCF) is bringing Holocaust survivor, Tomi Reichental, to South Africa, to share his story of loss and bravery.
He will be speaking at an NCCF Jewish Women’s Benevolent Society brunch on Sunday, 1 March 2015 at the Sandton Shull Hall. Guests will also receive tickets to watch Close to Evil, the award winning documentary about Reichental’s efforts to connect with one of his former jailers. The screening will air at King David School Linksfield on Sunday, 19 April 2015.
Reichental’s visit will also include a special dinner (already sold out) on Tuesday, 3 March 2015. Guests will be welcomed by the MC Kharbai School’s marimba band before listening to Reichental’s experiences.
A boy from Belsen
For over half a century, 80-year old Reichental, who now lives in Ireland, could not bring himself to speak about his experience in Bergen-Belsen. The traumatic events within the walls of the concentration camp remained buried in his memory until he began writing. This led to his autobiography, I am a Boy from Belsen, multiple radio and TV interviews, and two documentaries.
In 2012, a listener who heard him during a radio interview, tried to put him in contact with one of the female jailers from Belsen, Hilde Lisiewicz, but she declined to meet with him. His efforts to find her gave rise to the documentary, Close to Evil.
Reichental speaks regularly at schools, colleges and universities to educate about the Holocaust. By sharing his personal journey he hopes to inspire resilience and compassion.
Joining forces for good
Beyond raising funds for the Jewish Women’s Benevolent Society and the NCCF, Reichental will also be volunteering at various children’s charities during his visit. After experiencing extreme hardship first-hand, Reichental wants to shed light on the difficult lives of others, and encourage them to rise above their circumstances.
Through telling his story, Reicheintal has found some of the liberation he was denied as a child – using his difficult past to encourage positivity in future generations.
I am a Boy from Belsen will be on sale at both events, at R300 per copy, and is also available for pre-sale. For more information contact Benevolent on 011 485 5232. NCCF and the Jewish Women’s Benevolent Society are both 50% beneficiaries for the fundraising events.