Holocaust survivor rocks the Chabad with Klezmer music

Four days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Survivor Band founder Saul Dreyer made a special visit to Gainesville at the University of Florida’s Chabad and Jewish Student & Community Center on Tuesday.

Family members told the 97-year-old Dreier that starting a band was not the best idea and that he “didn’t need it” because he had survived stomach cancer and had been retired for nearly 15 years at the time.

The resilient drier didn’t listen. Instead, he went to a music store and bought a drum set.

“This event is not only important, it is historic,” said Rabbi Bell Goldman, director of the Center for Jewish Students and Community at the University of Chabad. “Decades after the Holocaust, you’d think the ‘never again’ message needs no explanation. It’s just mind-boggling that bigotry, hatred, and anti-Semitism still exist. am.”

Dreier was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp 79 years ago, along with hero Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews.

Now he’s performing and speaking all over the world, living a life he never thought possible.

The Holocaust Survivor Band warms up minutes before the set at Chabad. (Ethan Gale/WUFT News)

Holocaust survivor bands are known as “klezmer” style groups.

Klezmer is the Ashkenazi Jewish instrumental music tradition of Central and Eastern Europe. Through his music, he mourns those who died in the Holocaust.

“There are 350 million people living in the United States,” says Dreier. “He never thought anyone would do what I did by forming his band of Holocaust survivors.”

At 14, Dreier’s life in Poland was turned upside down. He survived three different concentration camps during World War II and was released at age 19.

“People ask me how I overcame so much adversity to be here today. Maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s God, I don’t know,” Dreyer said. “My ultimate goal is to defeat anti-Semitism, and I will continue to do so until I die.”

The University of Florida has the largest number of Jewish students of any public university in the United States.

Goldman’s goal is to welcome all students, make Chabad a comfortable and safe place, and host many fun events for Jewish students throughout the campus.

“Not only as a rabbi, but as a Jew, it really empowers me to see a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor emotional and happy to be able to fulfill the commandments of God.” It further helps us focus on the task at hand,” Goldman said.

University of Florida student Jessica Bernstein watches as a band of Holocaust survivors clap the hands of the crowd. (Ethan Gale/WUFT News)

Chabad’s main goal is to enlighten through Jewish practices and reach out to people on an emotional level. They achieved that goal not only with their students, but also by encasing Tefillin, a Holocaust survivor and Polish drummer.

A Tefillin is a set of small black leather boxes with leather straps containing scrolls of the Torah. Wearing a lanyard around the arm or forehead is a Jewish homage to God.

“I was standing here in the lobby helping Saul lay down the tefillin,” Goldman said. “Saul burst into tears because she was so proud to be able to give birth to Tefillin in good health.”

Holocaust survivor bands have performed all over the world, including Poland, Israel and Brazil.

“I heard about the band from a colleague in Germany and at that moment I knew I had to bring the talented Saul Dreyer to Gainesville, and I did just that,” said Goldman. “His generation died because they were Jews. Today’s generation’s task is to live.”

Chabad serves Shabbat dinner every Friday night and hosts special events throughout the year. According to Chabad programming director Amit Sapir, the Holocaust Survivor Band could have taken home his first place trophy.

“I got the chance to see firsthand what it’s like to love rather than hate,” Sapia said. rice field. ”

Goldman and Chabad remind the Jewish community to follow the Torah. Sapir strongly believes in Torah and now he has a different belief system thanks to Dreier.

“After seeing a performance like this, I felt that we should raise our future children through the virtues of Saul,” Sapir said. , was almost 100. It was a night that inspired everyone.”

One of the participants in the event studies archeology, specifically Holocaust survivors.

“Until tonight, I couldn’t imagine seeing someone from the ‘Holocaust’ generation with my own eyes instead of reading it in a textbook,” said Kyla Morales Hanks, a senior at UF.

The night ended with Dreier in yellow sunglasses answering questions from the crowd.

The evening ended with warm words from Dreier.

“I’m a Gators fan.”

Eva Landers and her granddaughter danced around during a Survivor Band performance. (Ethan Gale/WUFT News)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *