APRIL 2021 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 71
ICONIC HOLOCAUST EDUCATOR
BY JOSEPH GEMINO
Irving Roth, a Holocaust survivor, author, educator, and
human rights activist from Williston Park, has passed
away. He was 91.
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, he grew up playing
soccer with his brother, Bondi, until the Nazi invasion
in 1938, when Jews were not permitted in the park, then
the beach, and he was kicked out of school. His family
fled to Hungary, but in 1944 when Roth was 14, he and
his relatives were captured by the Nazis and forced
into the Auschwitz concentration camp. Upon arrival,
his grandparents, aunt, and cousin were sent to the gas
After surviving Auschwitz, Roth and his brother were
forced on a death march to Buchenwald, another Nazi
concentration camp. Bondi later died at Bergen-Belsen
concentration camp, but Roth and thousands of other
prisoners were freed when Buchenwald was liberated
Two years later, he and his parents emigrated to Brooklyn,
where he completed high school in three semesters.
In 1950, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the
Korean War. After his military service, he attended
Polytechnic University in Brooklyn to earn his master’s
degree in engineering and worked in the electrical
engineering field for years, retiring in the early 1990s.
Robert, Roth’s son told the Press, “One word he never
really knew the meaning of too well was leisure.” Robert
continued, “Considering where he came from… he
really did see good in people.”
He belonged to Temple Judea of Manhasset, where he
served as director of the Holocaust Resource Center,
traveling around the world to educate people of all ages
about the Holocaust.
“We have chosen to honor Roth by changing the name
of the center from the Temple Judea Holocaust Resource
Center to the Irving Roth Holocaust Resource Center,”
said the temple’s leader Rabbi Todd Chizner. “Every
time he spoke it was new… It would be eye opening.”
One of the many educational programs Roth developed
was the Adopt-A-Survivor program, which allows a
student to interview a Holocaust survivor. In 2045, 100
years after Auschwitz’s liberation, the interviewer will
share the survivor’s story to continue the memory. The
program has been adopted by Holocaust centers around
the world with thousands of participants.
Roth also shared his story in a book, Bondi’s Brother:
A Story of Love, Loss, Betrayal and Liberation and was
featured in a 2020 documentary called Never Again?
about the horrors of anti-Semitism.
Donna Rosenblum, who worked with Roth for years,
spoke about his views on history.
“When you teach history, it’s not about the places and
the events, it’s about the people...” she said. He would
ask, “Will you do that for me? Will you speak for me
when I cannot speak?”
Roth is survived by his partner Myrna, his sons Robert
and Edward and many loving grandchildren and
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