RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Father’s Day, we celebrate the dads who raised us, and honor those who’ve passed on.
This Father’s Day, a Raleigh woman is remembering her father, a Holocaust survivor who touched thousands of lives with his story of survival — including a local teacher who vowed the story will never be forgotten.
He endured unspeakable atrocities at the hands of the Nazis, yet Abe Piasek showed no sign of hate, as time and time again he shared his story of surviving the labor and death camps where millions died.
Piasek hoped sharing his experiences might help prevent the kind of hatred that led to the Holocaust from ever again taking hold.
“It hurts,” he said in April 2019. “But people have to know what happened.”
His daughter, Pamela Graber, still marvels at her father’s spirit.
“He’s such a survivor, and that’s not just in the sense that he went through all these things. He survived with a sense of humor and a spark for life.”
It’s that spark, that Graber believes drew people to her father and his message.
“Everyone was friends with my dad from the moment they met him,” she explained.
That was certainly the case for Steve Goldberg, a teacher who met Piasek when he spoke to his class.
“This guy you just sort of fall in love with, and then you hear what happened to him,” Goldberg recalled.
Goldberg developed a friendship with Piasek and his family.
“Three days before he passed away he asked me to keep telling his story,” Goldberg said.
It’s a responsibility he takes seriously. Since Piasek died in 2020, Goldberg has shared his story around the country.
He even commissioned artist Antje Duvekot to create an animation to illlustrate some of Piasek’s experiences, and students still hear Piasek’s voice in recorded interviews.
“The fact that he uses tapes of my farther talking makes it like he’s almost still there,” said Graber.
Goldberg recently accepted a job teaching history at Carolina Friends School. His classes include a yearlong seminar about the Holocaust, where he will continue to share Abe Piasek’s story.
While Graber still mourns her father’s passing, she’s glad Goldberg is sharing her dad’s message with a new generation of students.
“They haven’t met a Holocaust survivor,” Goldberg said. “But if I do my job right, I think they feel like they have.”
If you’d like to learn more about Abe Piasek’s story, click here.