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At age 75, Aaron Herskowitz and his beloved Helen return to Bilke. It is the first time since World War II, and they did not want to revisit the hellish nightmares of their survival. It is only after much convincing from their children that they are able to get their father and mother, also a native Bilker and Auschwitz survivor, to make the journey.

Howard, who has been fascinated with his father’s stories since childhood, hadn’t truly understood his parents’ reluctance to return to a home, at first the site of happy times, but then a time of sadness, when the Holocaust came to wipe out their families and loved ones. Together, Aaron and his family revisit familiar countryside while Howard uses video and audio to record his parents’ fascinating memories.

 

Sax

Aaron’s wild friend Sax. After immigrating to America, Aaron searched in vain for his old comrade Sax. It was not until after the deaths of both men that members of the Sax family by chance attended a live presentation of “Aaron’s Revenge” and then stepped forward with the amazing news that their relative was the late Ignatz Sax of Aaron’s story. This photograph was taken in the mid-to-late 1940s.

The Herskowitz Family
The Herskowitz Family, 1925. Aaron is second from the right. His two younger sisters, in the middle, Rachel and Leah, were still living at home when Aaron was taken to Russia.
Bilke Rabbi
Bilke’s Rabbi Weiss preached prayer rather than resistance; because of this, he was one of Aaron’s greatest adversaries.
Aaron was fluent in over ten different languages. It was only recently discovered that Aaron wrote many poems in several different languages, including Latin, Czech, Russian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Hebrew and Yiddish. Although he was fluent in German, he never wrote poetry in that language.