Howard Herskowitz convinced his father Aaron to tell his story despite his dad’s resistance to revisiting those nightmarish memories. When Aaron was seventy-five years old, Howard and his brother Louis accompanied their parents to their hometown Bilke for the first time since the end of World War II. Howard documented Aaron’s story both on film and paper, capturing all the dramatic elements of Aaron’s Revenge. Howard Herskowitz’s upbringing by two Jewish Holocaust survivors fostered a life-long interest in history, with an especially passionate curiosity about the lack of armed Jewish resistance during World War II. When Howard became a lawyer, he always maintained an empathy for the innocent underdog he has represented in conflicts against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Howard experiences the same sympathetic passions in his study of history, where innocent out-numbered people manage to overcome overwhelmingly superior adversaries and achieve victory. Howard has spent many years consulting with historians and witnesses to verify the facts in Aaron’s Revenge. Herskowitz’s passion for relaying his father’s struggles and heroism illustrates his devotion to his family and his love for communicating a significant period in history.
The Modest Hero
Aaron never boasted about his heroic feats, but as his father’s tale unfolded, Howard began to understand the untold truth kept virtually secret for decades until now. The Jews did not have political leaders in Europe. The Jewish leaders were the orthodox community rabbis, and their ancient beliefs against organized resistance and against emigration to Palestine (the Jews must wait for the “Messiah” to descend from the heavens to lead them to the Promised Land) played an unwitting role in the murder of so many Jews. Aaron’s stories became even more important as his own truth came out: He defied the rabbis and delivered a measure of justice to his former tormentors, and on behalf of those millions of Jews who perished throughout Europe. It is in the small town of Gerjen that Howard’s question is finally answered.