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Denis Avey: The Man Who Would Be Righteous

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By Carolyn Yeager

In 1995, Ernst Lobethall gave his testimony as a survivor of “The Holocaust” to the Survivors of the Shoah Foundation for their video library, as thousands of others have done. In it, he had some words to say about a British soldier he met while interned at Auschwitz III (Monowitz) who had done him a favor.

Lobethall records that the soldier he called Ginger “gave me a letter and 10 packs of cigarettes, and a bar of chocolate from my sister. Ten packs of English cigarettes – it’s like being given Rockefeller Center.” He also said, “I had no heavy socks to put on my boots; for two packs of Players cigarettes, (pause) and that, later on, came, again, to save my life on the death marches that took place in 1945.” This clip from the video was shown on the BBC Online News Magazine on November 29, 2009.[1] The article says that

Mr Lobethall traded two packs of Players cigarettes in return for getting his shoes resoled. It helped save his life when thousands perished or were murdered on the notorious death marches out of the camps in winter in 1945.

Lobethall’s testimony was at some point taken under consideration by the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum’s “Commission for the Designation of the Righteous,” a rather pompously-named committee, headed since 2005 by Israel Supreme Court Justice Jacob Tuerkel, that examines candidates before bestowing upon them the equally grandiose title of “Righteous Among the Nations.”
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