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Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Elazar Shafrir

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Published on Apr 4, 2012

If you do not see the English subtitles click "cc" (red).

Professor Elazar Shafrir was born in 1924 in Cracow, Poland. His father, a leader of the Zionist movement, died in 1940 as a political prisoner in Auschwitz. Shafrir was imprisoned in Plaszow, where together with his friend Yehiel Stiener, he repaired guard towers. A year later, the two managed to escape with the help of Anna Katchrowska, later recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations. They reached Cracow under assumed identities. The Polish underground helped Shafrir reach Hungary, where aided by the Jewish Agency, he reached Eretz Yisrael. Aharon Hantke, who headed Keren Hayesod, helped Shafrir conclude his studies at the Tel Aviv Gymnasium. Shafrir began chemistry studies at the Hebrew University. In December 1947, he was drafted to the Haganah. At the outbreak of the War of Independence, he left his white scientist's jacket on a chair in the laboratory and pushed his notebooks into a drawer. During the war, he spent three months in Gush Etzion and returned to Jerusalem in the Nebi Daniel convoy. He participated in the battles for San Simon, Ramat Rahel, the Jerusalem corridor and the Kastel. Following the Six Day War and the return to Mount Scopus, Shafrir entered the Chemistry Building at the University and was stunned to find his jacket on the same chair, and his notebooks in the drawer, 19 years later. He continued his studies of chemistry, became a professor and served as Head of the Department of Biochemistry at the Hadassah Medical School.
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