On Sunday, Yom Hashoah, religious school students at Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim in Silver Spring met with shul members and Holocaust survivors Harvey Goldfarb and Martin Finkelstein and listened to their personal accounts of heroism and survival.
Finkelstein was serving in the Polish army when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, and his unit was captured by the German army. He told the students how he jumped from a moving train while being shot at by German guards, walked dozens of miles to Sosnowiec, Poland, where he reunited with family members. He was then deported to slave labor camps in Germany. He survived the harsh conditions of several camps until liberated by the Russians on May 8, 1945.
Goldfarb recounted how he survived several liquidations of ghettos because he was able to work, until he ended up in the Vaihingen an der Enz slave labor camp in Germany. During the final days of the war, after seeing the German guards had abandoned their post, he single-handedly brought about the liberation of this camp which had, in effect, become a concentration camp for sick and dying prisoners. He threw open the gates of the camp and walked a few miles until he encountered French soldiers. He led them to his camp, thereby saving many lives.