Holocaust survivor refunded for tuition paid before WWII

Hebrew University 88 (photo credit: )
Hebrew University 88
(photo credit: )
An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor has received a refund for tuition he paid to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem just before World War II, the university said Tuesday. Prof. Baruch Kaplan, a native of Poland, registered for studies at the university in June 1939, where he was accepted for studies in chemistry in the university's Faculty of Sciences. Kaplan's father sent the school payments for two years of study. Three months later, Germany invaded Poland and Kaplan was forced to forgo his dream of immigrating to the Land of Israel and studying at the university. Bialystok, where Kaplan lived, was given over to Soviet rule, and he then went to study chemistry at the University of Lvov. He escaped from Lvov two days after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, and discovered that his entire family had been killed. Kaplan volunteered for the Red Army and fought against the Nazis for four years. Near the end of the war, he was seriously wounded and had a leg amputated. After the war, he continued his university studies in Moscow and went on to be elected a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, serving as chief scientist of the Research Institute of Rare Metals. In 1992, Kaplan immigrated to Israel with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. Recently, he sent a letter to the Hebrew University about his father's 1939 tuition payment after a childhood friend brought the issue of asset restoration for Holocaust survivors to his attention. The university decided to refund Kaplan for two years of tuition payment at the current price of NIS 17,044, a university spokeswoman said, and he decided to give it as a scholarship for one of his great-granddaughters when she grows up and goes to study. "Now I am already a great-grandfather to four sabra great-granddaughters," he said proudly, "and each of my grandchildren has a doctorate in mathematics."