Gail and I are connected; her people know my people. And we keep finding more links – Through our 6 degrees of separation, I have kept up with Gail’s story. Several weeks ago, I received a text from a friend about an unbelievable occurrence that happened to Gail. I think this is one you will Never Forget.
But First, A Puzzling TAG
Gail’s parents were Holocaust survivors. In 2018, Gail sent a Facebook post to the universe and inadvertently tagged me. Was the tag an error or meant to be?
A LOVE STORY : Max and Rose
Gail’s dad, Max Pohl, was born on October 5, 1922, in Wieluń, Poland. Her mom, Rose Pohl was born on May 10, 1922, in Pabianice, Poland.
A Polish Jew, Max moved to Pabianice, Poland, in 1937. He met his future wife, Rose, in 1940.
While WW II raged, Max worked on the railroads under forced labor conditions. In 1943, he was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. The number 159360 was permanently tattooed on his arm. Three weeks later, Max relocated to the Warsaw concentration camp, then on to Dachau concentration camp. Max was liberated, on May 31, 1945, by the United States.
Rose was imprisoned in the Lódź ghetto, then at the concentration camps of Salzwedel and Bergen-Belsen in Germany and Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. In April 1945, Rose was liberated by the United States armed forces at Salzwedel concentration camp.
After liberation, Max spent a year in Paris, France. While in Paris, Max learned that Rose and her family survived and were located at the Displaced Persons camp in Zeilsheim, Germany. He knew he had to get to Zeilsheim and find his Rose.
By 1946, Max and Rose were once again united at the Displaced Persons camp in Zeilsheim, Germany. According to a marriage certificate, Max and Rose married in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 2, 1947, but other records indicate 1945.
Max’s aunt, who lived in Buffalo, New York, agreed to serve as their sponsor, and on February 17, 1949, Max and Rose Pohl immigrated to the United States.
AHH, Always a BUFFALO Connection
My friend Sheryl was incredibly close friends with Gail’s twin sister Jackie, who sadly passed away in 2013.
Throughout the years, Gail and I have run into each other. We also keep on each other through Sheryl, which is one of the reasons that Gail was able to tag me on the Facebook Post mentioned above; Gail and I are Facebook friends. Facebook friendship is a whole new concept of bonding. My husband Mitch thinks the Facebook thing is nuts, but without it, I would not keep up with all the folks from my past who live all over the globe.
1 5 9 3 6 0 – Never Forget
Several weeks ago, Sheryl shared an unbelievable text from Gail. The text spoke about Max’s permanent tattooed arm number; a tattoo that spoke of all the memories.
The casino is an unlikely setting for a beautiful moment, but as we know, anything is possible. Gail sat down at the slots and decided to play the numbers permanently etched on her father’s arm. The number that reminds us to never forget. The number that tells a story that is too painful to relive.
Gail watches the machine twirl – the lights blink and the bells whistle – until it stops. Could it be? Number 159360, a WINNER! One small quick pick with one unforgettable number, resulting in $3,022.00!
Gail sent the photos to Sheryl, who sent them to me. I knew I had to share this story on the blog. But not just because of the Jackpot at the casino.
The Real Jackpot
The slot machine jackpot piqued my curiosity and inspired this blog. However, this is truly the story of the jackpot that Max and Rose created from tragedy. Their story of perseverance and hope.
Max and Rose settled in Buffalo and built a beautiful life with three children. They were an inspiration to their family and community. An entire family exists because of their survival, strength, and determination to build a new life. Poetically, their son became a Rabbi. The human spirit is extraordinary, we all have the capacity to start over and create beauty and love.
Most of the Holocaust survivors are deceased; their stories must stay alive. Even if it is a short tale about a JackPot. NEVER FORGET.
My newly released book Raising Jess A Story of Hope is a powerful memoir of one family’s survival when faced with adversity. Written with compassion, honesty, and humor, it tells of a family changed forever by the birth of a child with a disability and the courageous decision to choose hope.
“Couldn’t Put it Down! Raising Jess is an amazing book! I started it at 9 pm and stayed up all night to finish it in one sitting. Vickie Rubin’s writing is masterful! Highly recommend!” – Mike S.
Is this book for you? Click on the reviews