Holocaust survivor, 89, to celebrate bar mitzvah

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Saturday, May 27, 2017
Bar Mitzvah file

CHICAGO -- An 89-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia will finally celebrate his belated bar mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony that marks the transition to manhood.

Harold Katz began preparing for the celebration 76 years ago, but it never took place amid the Holocaust, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Katz's daughter, Lila Katz, said her father made the announcement of his plans for a belated bar mitzvah at his birthday party last year. His celebration, where letters will be written in memory of congregants and friends' loved ones, will take place on Memorial Day.

Katz, who now lives in a Chicago retirement home, said he'd like to be remembered from a personal story that his grandchildren would want to tell their children.

During World War II, Katz kept from being apprehended by Nazi soldiers after being separated from his family at the age of 13.

"I remember it as if it was yesterday," Katz said.

His father, mother, three brothers and four sisters died after being sent to Auschwitz, where more than a million Jews were killed.

"They're always with me," he said. "In dreams, I see them."

Katz later discovered that his older brother had survived.

Katz and his brother came to Chicago after finding their aunt and uncle.

The brothers worked in construction and built homes all over Chicago.