If you ask 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Albert Rosa to take a couple of jabs in the boxing ring, he would probably oblige.
Rosa, who loves the sport of boxing, spent much of his life fighting, especially during World War II.
“I love to box,” Rosa said. “My brother taught me when I was a little boy and I’ve been boxing ever since.”
Rosa was able to talk about his many “fights” during his life at the “From Victim to Victory” discussion held at the Chabad Jewish Center of the Santa Clarita Valley in Newhall earlier this month.
Rosa, who is Jewish, spent several hours rehashing his ordeal, life experiences and his time in the U.S. Army to a crowd of 40 people in the audience. He is the only non-American to win a Purple Heart, a military honor awarded to those wounded or killed while serving.
Rosa, born to an upper middle class family in Greece, was one of eight children, he said. He was in seventh grade when Italy declared war on Greece. He said the school principal told students that the school would call them back when the war was over.
“They never called me back,” he said.
His family started feeling the effects of World War II shortly after Italy’s declaration. His father’s hardware business closed down. Later, he and his family were taken into captivity and eventually placed in internment camps.
“We were not humans anymore,” he said.
For several years between 1941 and 1945, Rosa said, he spent days and nights in different camps. He said he watched his brother, who taught him how to box, hanged by Nazis. His sister was killed and her body dragged away.
Rosa and seven other prisoners escaped Kaufering concentration camp in 1945 and joined American soldiers, who gave him a uniform. Help helped with Army medic runs, was wounded, and received a Purple Heart.
Rabbi Choni Marozov, overseer of Chabad of SCV, said he was honored to have Rosa speak at the event. The account was a reminder of how bad things can get, he said.
“He has a story that is very important,” Marozov said. “We always need to be reminded of what could happen. His courage and strong will in the face of adversity is something to be admired.”
Originally published HERE.