In memoriam: Shlomo Arouch

Salamo Arouch, death camp survivor

Salamo Arouch, death camp survivor

Shlomo or Salamo Arouch (1923-2009) was an amateur boxer in the Balkans when the Nazis invaded. He and his family, along with thousands of other Greek Jews, were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. On the first day, his mother, sisters, and all the younger children were killed, leaving himself, his father, and his younger brother.

When the Nazis found out that he was a boxer, he was forced to fight for their entertainment while they bet on the outcome. The loser was executed and cremated. At some point he was transferred off the slave labour detail to office work. In two years, he won more than 100 fights, some of them with men who outweighed him by a hundred pounds.

By the time the camp was liberated, his father had died and his brother had been shot on the spot for refusing to pull gold teeth from the mouths of the dead. He was the only survivor from his family.

While searching for members of his family at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945, Arouch met 17-year-old Marta Yechiel, from his own home town. After their marriage later that year, in 1948 he emigrated to the fledgling state of Israel and served in the Israeli Army, where he continued to box. In civilian life he ran a successful shipping and moving business in Tel Aviv.

Salamo Arouch’s wife [, Marta,] and four children survive him.

You can read more about Salamo Arouch here.

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