Esther Raab, left, Abe Raab, center, and Irving Raab.

Holocaust survivor Esther Raab, of Vineland, was one of 300 Jews to escape from the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland in 1943, said son Abe Raab, of Atlantic City.

For decades after the end of World War II, she told her story of involvement in the largest and most successful camp revolt against the Nazis.

Now 92 and suffering from dementia, she no longer can speak at schools and community centers. So, Abe Raab, 65, is carrying on the tradition, he said.

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“It is my legacy to continue to tell the world,” Abe Raab said.

The revolt was the subject of a 1982 book and 1987 TV movie, both called “Escape from Sobibor,” and both written by Richard Rashke. He also wrote a play called “Dear Esther,” using letters from students who had heard Esther speak. The play premiered in 1998 at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Abe Raab said.

In 2004, Shaindy Perl, of Monsey, N.Y., wrote a book about Esther Raab called “Tell the World — The Story of the Sobibor Revolt.”

That book covered Esther Raab’s entire life, including the years she spent traveling back to Europe to testify against Nazis who had survived and were brought to trial in Germany, Abe Raab said.

After seeing the man who ran the Sobibor gas chamber on a merry-go-round in Berlin in 1950, she had him arrested and testified at his trial, Abe Raab said.

The first act of “Dear Esther” recounts her life, starting with the outbreak of the War in Poland, the murder of her parents, the ghettoes and work camps she spent a year in, to her arrival and eventual escape from Sobibor 10 months later, according to a press release.

The second act shows her finding her brother, the end of the war and her journey to Berlin, where she finds the camp’s gasmaster and testifies at his trial. It was the first of many war crime trials at which she would bear witness.

She lives with husband, Irving Raab. In 2012, the Raab Family Foundation donated $25,000 to help establish the Esther and Irving Raab Holocaust Collection in the Cumberland County College Library.  

Boy Scout helps pets

Boy Scout Rob McDounough has built the Humane Society of Ocean City a safe, warm holding area for stray or wild animals brought to the organization when it is closed at night as his Eagle Scout project.

The member of Boy Scout Troop 55 in Somers Point picked the project after speaking to shelter manager Angela Doyle and shelter worker Rachel Durphy about what the HSOC needed. Home Depot, Lowes and Shore True Value Hardware donated supplies.

“This holding facility will be greatly beneficial in assisting the HSOC with their everyday mission regarding injured wildlife,” HSOC Executive Director Bill Hollingsworth said. “We are also grateful for Rob’s dedication in overseeing this project and his commitment to complete the final project before the busy summer tourist season begins and demand for services rises.”

2 students to be honored

Atlantic Cape Community College students Carlie Calabria, of Hammonton, and Jon Yuen, of Galloway Township, will be honored as two of New Jersey’s 37 top community college students by the The New Jersey Council of County Colleges, May 1 at its 20th annual Phi Theta Kappa Day in Trenton.

They are being recognized for academic achievement and community service as members of Phi Theta Kappa International honor society, said NJCCC President Lawrence Nespoli.

Phi Theta Kappa and the Coca-Cola Foundation also awarded a $1,500 scholarship to Ocean County College student Rebecca Lazerson, of Toms River, for being named Coca-Cola Foundation All-USA Gold Medalist Scholar.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:


Five years as Ocean County bureau chief, 12 years as regional news editor (not continuous), 10 years as copy editor (also not continuous), all at The Press of Atlantic City.

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