David Urbach, a Holocaust Survivor, dies at 89

WEST ORANGE, NJ - David Urbach, a Holocaust survivor and a human rights activist, died yesterday in West Orange after a prolonged illness. He was 89.

Urbach was born in Germany in 1928. He was 5 years old when the Nazis came to power in early 1933. After Hitler took over Germany, his family fled to Warsaw, Poland. When WWII broke in summer of 1939, Urbach’s family was caught under Nazi occupation. In late 1940, Urbach and his family were sent to the Warsaw ghetto. He was only 12. Urbach survived the first transports to Treblinka, but was then deported, first to Buchenwald, and then to Auschwitz in 1943. When he arrived at Auschwitz, he survived a selection by Dr. Josef Mengele, the notorious doctor who selected Jews for the gas. He later survived additional selections until the camp was liberated by the Red Army in early 1945. He was only 17.

After the war, Urbach returned to Warsaw, and at age 20 he came to the US. He first lived in New York and in the 1960s he moved to West Orange. He worked as a salesperson until his retirement in 1996.

Over the years, Urbach helped establish a community of Holocaust survivors in West Orange. He also organized trips to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC in the past 10 years. “David was a great man,” says Tal Ben-Zvi, the President of Shoah Survivors, “he was one of the pillars of our community. We will all miss him very much. Yehi Zichro Baruch. God rest his soul”.

Urbach is survived by his son, his daughter, 5 grandchildren and 2 grand grandchildren.

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