We said goodbye to my daddy today. Most of my friends know how much he meant to us and how heroic he was in his teens as well as the past eighteen months since his horrible accident. We’ll always be so proud of him and his perseverance! We would love it if you shared your favorite memories of him. May his memory be a blessing…Formal announcement below.
It is with great sorrow that I announce the passing of my father, Philip Bialowitz, the last remaining Polish Jew to have survived Sobibor, the infamous Nazi German death camp where, in 1943, he joined a small group of Jews who overpowered their captors and staged an open revolt freeing hundreds of prisoners. Philip passed away peacefully this afternoon, at the age of 90, in a Florida hospice surrounded by his four children.
When the revolt at Sobibor began, Philip was standing with his fellow prisoners when he saw the revolt’s two leaders stand upon a table and call out to everyone: “If you survive, bear witness! Tell the world about this place!” Philip devoted much of the rest of his life to performing this sacred duty. He traveled the world, relating his eyewitness account to thousands of children and adults, and honoring the memories of the 250,000 Jews who perished and the few who survived thanks to what he called “the fighting spirit of the Jewish people.” His acclaimed book, A Promise at Sobibor, recounted his life story, from his childhood in pre-war Poland, to his teenage years during the Second World War, to his post-war years dedicated to creating a family, helping the community, bringing the Nazi perpetrators to justice, and remembering and teaching about the Holocaust.
Philip would often tell people that he had “a mission to perform.” While not always easy, he faithfully and vigorously fulfilled his obligation to the victims and heroes of Sobibor.
The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, will deliver a eulogy at the funeral service, to be held at 12:30 PM on Monday August 8th, 2016 at Sinai Chapels at 162-05 Horace Harding Expy, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365. A burial ceremony will follow at Wellwood Cemetary, located at 1400 Wellwood Ave, West Babylon, NY 10001
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Philip’s memory to the Jewish Community of Poland fund (donate at www.fjc.org and assign your donation to the Jewish Community of Poland when prompted).