21 Dec Heroic David Miller: Holocaust survivor
One morning in synagogue, I sat beside David Miller, a family friend and Holocaust survivor.
His simple piety and translucent spirituality transported me. On his face, I saw an aura of divine calm and deep surrender. Through a process of osmosis, his very presence overrode my tenuous Hebrew and enabled me to chant the entire liturgy.
Later, as he recounted his story, I knew we would be lifelong friends. Over the years, I saw how his substantive faith enabled him to cope with his past. Mr. Miller, along with 5,000 resistance fighters, participated in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, beginning on April 19, 1943. After escaping, he was eventually sent to Auschwitz. In April of 1945, he escaped again by pushing aside a guard and fleeing into the woods. He eventually made his way towards the American Liberation soldiers.
After the war, he went to Landsburg, Germany, a Displaced Persons’ Camp. After regaining his strength, he learned of the death of his mother, father, and three sisters. Here, he met another survivor, his future wife, Cela. Just a few months after their wedding, in 1949, they received notice that Beth Shalom Synagogue in Columbia would sponsor them.