Oren's father Lester Bornstein (Right), and his uncle Joe Bornstein (Left).
(photo credit: LESTER BORNSTEIN)
THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS PHOTOGRAPHS THAT ARE GRAPHIC IN NATURE.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren shared photos his uncle, Col. Joseph Bornstein, took while liberating Dachau as a US Army soldier.
In the photos Bornstein took, one can see G.I.s standing behind Jews who survived the Nazi death camp.
Bornstein won a Silver Star for bravery in WWII. Oren's father, Lester Bornstein, 92, fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-1945 and won two Bronze Stars for bravery. Both went on to participate in the Korean War.
Oren said seeing the photos had a major impact on him as a child growing up in New Jersey, where he often faced antisemitism. His family’s home and car were vandalized, and the local synagogue was attacked during his childhood.
“I’d come home having been beaten up by antisemites, and my father would show me these pictures,” Oren recounted. “He kept them in an alcove behind the basement stairs, and he would say ‘You see this? This is why we have to have a strong Israel.’ Looking at the pictures now, I realize this is why I do what I do. It was a very powerful message.”
The deputy minister and former ambassador to the US chose to release the photos now because “we’re dealing with rising antisemitism in the world on the right and the left, and of course Holocaust denial is out there, like with the Iranian iteration. If not now, when?”