Jewish Journal

Farewell Bill Basch

by Ilana Angel

October 28, 2009 | 1:01 pm

Bill Basch

I am going to a funeral today and rather than blog about the struggles of my single life I would like to tell you about my friend William Basch who passed away this week at the age of 82.  Bill was a Holocaust survivor who was featured in the documentary ‘The Last Days’ and I was blessed to know him.

Bill was in the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps in Germany and helped save Jews while working in the underground resistance movement in Hungary.  In speaking of the Holocaust Bill said, “In order to survive, we must accept the responsibility of being our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.  Each one of us must do our share of improving our society one day at a time. We all have the ability to defeat evil in our own way.”

I travelled the world with Bill and the other featured survivors from the film ‘The Last Days’ and I remember when we were screening the film in Washington, DC, we were getting ready to leave and I noticed there was a film poster left in the corner and Bill said we should take it with us.  My son was about 6 years old at the time and a fixture around the Shoah Foudation.

Bill pulled out a pen and wrote a message on the poster to my son and signed it.  He then made sure that all the survivors from the film signed it with a message to my boy.  He said that one day they would be gone and my son would have the poster and know that they were all here and survived and he would have the power share their stories because he knew them. 

I treasure the poster as does my son and it is incomprehensible to me that when the Nazi’s marched into Hungary Bill was the same age my son is now. Bill Basch was a funny, kind and thoughtful gentleman and I will remember him always and hold him in my heart. 

It is a clear and beautiful day in Los Angeles and fitting to lay this wonderful man to rest on such a day.  Take a moment today to remember the history of our Jewish family.  I wish you peace and health and remind you to keep the faith.

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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