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Wednesday 12 June, 2024
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Judah Samet who survived 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting dead at 84, Cause of Death

BY Anas Shah Sep 29, 2022. 10:12 pm UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022. 10:12 pm

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Holocaust survivor Judah Samet, who narrowly avoided a shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, passed away on Tuesday. He was 84.

Samet was a few minutes late for services at the Tree of Life of Life synagogue and was just pulling into a disabled place when a guy informed him there was gunshots inside. Samet had survived the Bergen-Belsen detention camp during World War II. Samet observed an officer and the attacker exchanging fire. In the bloodiest attack on Jews in American history, eleven people died.

Afterward, he expressed amazement that this hadn’t occurred sooner.

“I didn’t lose the faith in humanity,” he told The Associated Press two days after the shooting. “I know not to depend on humanity.”

Samet, who was six years old when the Nazis arrived at his home and ordered everyone to leave, was born in Hungary on February 5, 1938. Prior to their 1945 liberation, his family was interned at Bergen-Belsen for ten months in Germany. A few days later, his father passed away from typhus.

Samet relocated to Israel after the conflict and worked as a paratrooper there. He moved in the 1960s to Pittsburgh. Samet worked in the jewellery store owned by his father-in-law before buying it.

For many years, Samet kept his Holocaust experiences private. However, during the 1990s, with the epic movie “Schindler’s List” in theatres and more elderly survivors passing away, he thought to himself, “My God, who is going to tell this story?”

As many as tens of thousands of people heard Samet speak about his Holocaust experience in schools and other venues, largely in the Pittsburgh region but also as far away as Montana.

In 2020, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Unfortunately, only folks like me can bear testimony.” But once the final generation of Holocaust survivors has passed, he said, historians and others will need to communicate the tale in compelling ways.

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