We are saddened to learn of the passing of Branko Lustig, Holocaust survivor and Oscar-winning producer of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.
Branko Lustig z’l, was born in Osijek, Croatia in 1932. He was a survivor of both the Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen concentration camps during World War II and his experiences in the camps were captured in Schindler’s List. Most members of his family perished, including his grandmother who was killed in the gas chamber, while his father was killed in Čakovec on 15 March 1945. Lustig’s mother survived the Holocaust and was reunited with him after the war. On the day of the liberation, he weighed only 66 pounds (29.94 kg). Lustig credited his survival in Auschwitz to a German officer who happened to be from the same suburb of Osijek as Lustig. He overheard Lustig crying and asked him who his father was. It turned out the officer had known Lustig’s father.
During the 2011 International March of the Living, Lustig celebrated his bar mitzvah at Auschwitz, in front of barrack No. 24a. He missed his rite of passage as a 13-year-old because at the time he was a prisoner in the very same barrack, having been deported from Osijek when he was ten years old.
Watch Lustig’s moving participation in the 2011 March of the Living, which also includes eloquent remarks from his daughter Sara and a message from Steven Spielberg.
May his memory be a blessing and may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
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