The Academy of Jewish Thought and Learning hosted Dov Landau, Holocaust survivor, in Cape Town from 26-28 October.
At the age of 15, Dov Landau, living in Poland, was sent into forced labour under the occupying Nazi forces. His mother and four siblings were taken away, never to return. In 1943 he was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he saw his father for the last time. Dov recalls his father’s last words to him — to remain a Jew. Dov subsequently survived a death march and Buchenwald camp, which was liberated by American forces 11 April 1945.
Dov lost his entire family.
He arrived in Cape Town on Thursday, meeting the families of past Academy of Jewish Thought and Learning Poland Tour participants. Dinner that evening was hosted by Leora and Michael Sternberg in Camps Bay, where he regaled the table with his life story, and also met with two of Cape Town’s Holocaust survivors — Ella Blumenthal and Miriam Lichterman.
On the Friday morning, Herzlia High School learners had the opportunity to hear and meet Dov, as he addressed them, and then spent time connecting with individual grades. The reaction of students who meet and hear Dov is universal — a sense of honour, privilege and awe.
For the Shabbat Project, Dov was generously hosted by Alan and Martine Trope, and the Ohr Somayach community in Seapoint. He was warmly welcomed, and not only joined their community dinner, but was invited to join in the Bar-Mitzvah celebration of one of the congregants.
Dov embraced his time in Cape Town, connecting to this vibrant Jewish community — it is what he does.
He bears witness, he embraces life, and he places great value in taking every opportunity to forge links in the chain of Jewish life — past and present.