Seventy years ago Aryeh Sadeh’s life was saved thanks to Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. This week he celebrated his bar mitzvah, and took the opportunity to thank his rescuer yet again.
Sadeh, 84, became bar mitzvah 71 years ago but never had a chance to celebrate. His wife and children decided to fix that with a surprise party and ceremony in the retirement home where he lives.
The ceremony at the Ahuzat Beit Hakerem retirement home was held with help from Shimon Gantz of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. Residents of the retirement home joined in the celebration with dancing and singing, and even threw candies at the “bar mitzvah boy.”
Sadeh spoke at the emotional event and thanked the organizers, participants, and Oskar Schindler. “I’m very happy to have a chance to thank Oskar Schindler,” he said. “He was a lone righteous man. He built the Brinnlitz camp with his own money and brought all the Jews there.”
Schindler was buried in Israel, Sadeh continued. “On the day of his funeral people came from all over the world. My oldest daughter, Ronit, was at the funeral, with her school’s permission.”
After surviving the Holocaust Sadeh came to Israel in 1946 and joined a pre-state military group. He served in the IDF Navy for 15 years but was forced to retire early due to health problems. For the next two decades he worked at the Tel Aviv Art Museum.
He and his wife kept in touch with Schindler, and met him in person twice during his visits to Israel.