Harry Rapaport's Family

- a Story of Tragedy and Survival

Submitted by:

Harry Rapaport

Webmaster’s Note:

To anyone who has attended our Reunions, Harry and his wife Penny will have become familiar faces to you.

In this video, recorded on 1st May 2019 to mark Yom Ha’Shoah, Harry tells the story of his and Penny’s families – their Holocaust tragedies and stories of survival, to New York State Legislators, as part of their Holocaust Program.

His eloquence is highly moving and those of us who are descended from Holocaust survivors, as are Harry and Penny, will recognise many of the elements of Harry’s story in our own stories also.

From Harry Rapaport:

I’m retired as a court reporter from the US District Court in NY. 

After bringing back Torah Scrolls from Częstochowa in 1988 & 1989, I began to tell the story of the rescue of the Torahs and the restoration of 15 scrolls, which mushroomed into my giving combined lectures of the story of the Torahs in conjunction with my family’s suffering and surviving the Częstochowa Ghetto, the Łódż Ghetto, Treblinka, Auschwitz and other camps, and the liberation by Allied troops in 1945, including their search after liberated for any relatives that may have also survived.   Finding no one, I speak about their life in the DP Camps and arrival in the US.

I also speak about my dad’s father being the first Jew killed on “Bloody Monday”, 4th September 1939, and his burial in the Częstochowa Jewish cemetery, and my dad’s arrival to Treblinka on 2nd October 1942, with his 69 year old mother, his pregnant wife, his 11 year old daughter Esterka, their immediate death in gas chambers, and fate that my dad had the luck to sneak into a work detail (sorting clothes) while naked and only meters away from gas chamber; and his escape and plans for escape from Treblinka. 

I lecture on the subject whenever asked, never taking any fee.   It’s a legacy I inherited from my dad, Moishe RAPAPORT z’l.