Seven decades after US troops set him free, a Holocaust survivor is now saying thank you to wounded US veterans.
By: World Israel News Staff
Bernard Darty, a Holocaust survivor who has endured the worst at the hands of the Nazis, has donated $1 million for the benefit of wounded American US veterans, saying that he wishes to thank them for their sacrifice.
In a blog published by Fox News last week, Darty, a Paris native and retired co-founder of Darty Group, an electrical retailer operating more than 340 stores in three European countries, wrote that since the Holocaust and his liberation by US troops, he has felt “a deep connection to American troops for saving my life – a feeling that resurfaces every year on Veterans Day and throughout the holiday giving season.”
This year, at the age of 83 and seven decades after his liberation, Darty is saying thank you to the American soldiers of the 1940’s by donating $1 million to organizations serving wounded American veterans.
“My donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Services for Armed Forces program of the American Red Cross is my way of giving back, thanking previous generations of warriors for helping me. I hope this inspires others to give back as well,” Darty wrote.
“Even though more than 70 years have passed since my rescue, it’s not too late to give back. That’s a lesson I hope the next generation recognizes, because it’s all too easy to let procrastination give way to inaction. But action is what brings hope to those who need it,” said Darty.
As a child, he spent most of the Holocaust in France hiding from the Nazis, where his parents moved after fleeing the pogroms in Poland. On July 16, 1942, the French police led a big roundup of Jews in Paris. More than 13,000 Jews were detained before being deported to Nazi death camps.
When the police came to the Dartys apartment, his parents managed to take him to his aunt’s home. She was married to a French soldier and was therefore protected.
A few hours later, his mother was arrested as she and his brother were trying to get information about his father, who was hiding in a nearby grocery store. A concierge had turned them in to the police. His mother was detained and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp where she perished, probably within three weeks.
He was seven years old at the time, and for the next two years lived in hiding, shielded by other families on the outskirts of Paris. His future wife was also a child in hiding.
“I vividly remember the arrival of the hundreds of thousands of American troops who landed in Normandy to liberate us in June 1944. They were our saviors, doling out packets of sweets to half-starved, war-weary children who had almost given up hope for freedom,” Darty recounts.
Gratitude Beyond Words
“The gratitude I feel to these men is beyond words. They freed our country and they saved our lives. Without American troops, my family and I simply would not have existed. I think of that every time I look at our family photos,” he shared.
Since the end of the war, he has had a successful career as co-owner of one of Europe’s largest home appliance retailers, working alongside his brothers. “I’ve also enjoyed raising my family, celebrating extended family gatherings of 20 people,” he wrote.
“But as I watched news stories this fall of hurricanes, flooding and wildfires striking America, inflicting suffering among civilians and veterans alike, I realized that I still had an important task left to complete in my life. I had not yet given back to the American soldiers who saved my life nearly three-quarters of a century ago,” Darty explained.
“That is why I want to help modern American veterans today. They pursue the tradition of the young men who landed on the shores of Normandy in June 1944 and who I will never forget. In giving this donation, I want to thank Americans with all my heart for coming to rescue us in our hour of need.But I also want to make a public stand in support of America. I hope that my donation can trigger a movement and lead others to take action. My story shows it’s never too late to give back, especially for a cause that’s close to your heart. If it wasn’t too late for this octogenarian, it’s not too late for you,” he concluded.
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a non-profit organization that serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service. To date, at has provided services to close to 109,000.
With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.