Jewish Survivor of Eight Nazi Concentration Camps Dies at 94

The greatest fear of Chaim Ferster, who witnessed mass executions and lost his parents, two sisters and 26 relatives in the Shoah, 'was that people would forget the horrors of the Holocaust.'

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Chaim Ferster, a 94-year old Jewish survivor of eight Nazi concentration camps, has died, British media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Chaim Ferster performing Hativka.Credit: Facebook

Deported by the Nazis in 1943 from his home in Sosniwiecz, Poland, Ferster survived malnutrition and typhoid during the war, witnessed mass executions and lost both of his parents and two sisters as well as 26 other relatives in the Holocaust, the BBC reported.

Ferster settled in Manchester, where he died with his three sons by his side on Monday due to complications related to pneumonia and a kidney infection, the BBC reported, citing information from local rabbi Arnold Saunders. Ferster is survived by his 92-year-old sister, Manya, who immigrated to England with him in 1946.

"[Ferster] had nine lives and was an inspiration," Rabbi Saunders said. "His greatest fear was that people would forget the horrors of the Holocaust," Ferster's son Stuart told the BBC. "That is why he spent so much time giving lectures in schools and colleges. We are so proud of him and the work he did."

It was only when Ferster was in his late 70s that he began speaking about his experiences in the Holocaust, the Manchester Evening News noted. In 2015, he was awarded a British Empire medal for his Holocaust education efforts.

An avid violinist before World War II, Ferster found it impossible to resume playing after the Holocaust because it brought back memories of the camps, including Auschwitz, a period of his life during which he was unable to play, the Manchester newspaper reported. He resumed playing within the past couple of years, however, and just last month on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, he performed at the Manchester Grammar School. He also marked the day by speaking to members of the Greater Manchester Police Department.

The police department mourned Ferster's death on its Facebook page, posting a video clip of the Holocaust survivor playing Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem. 

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