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Yom HaShoa – Holocaust Memorial Day: The life of Peter Erben who survived by playing soccer at Theresienstadt

By Moshe Halickman

My brothers and I first became acquainted with the name Peter Erben on Yom HaShoa, Holocaust Memorial Day in 2013 when we read about his striking story in the Yediot Achronot Sports Section.

Erben, was born Peter Eisenberg in the city of Moravska, Czechoslovakia in 1921. He was able to survive five camps during the Holocaust but due to the fact that he was a highly respected football player in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, he was able to stay alive, survive and eventually make his way to Israel after the war.

After learning about his dramatic story, we decided to find out more about Erben. First we researched as much as I could online and then we decided to call him at his home in Ashkelon.

When he heard our voices he was more than thrilled to talk about his amazing journey that took him from the horrors of the Holocaust to the joy of immigrating to a new country. It was more than impressive to understand how he managed to stay alive thanks to his skills on the football field and then managing to get to Israel with his wife Eva in 1949 where they began to start their new extended family.

Erben then said that he would send us his book in which he detailed his life story entitled “In My Own Path” which was published in 2001. His unique story is quite stirring. A few weeks later the book arrived with a special dedication from Peter himself, which read, “Moshe, Dov and Yehuda, with love from Peter 18.4.2013″.

Several years after speaking to Peter, we were sorry to hear that he passed away on April 5, 2017, at the age of 96.

We will always remember the late Peter Erben, the kind and humble man we only knew so little about. We will remember and never forget what the Nazis did to the Jews, and declare out loud; Never Again.

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