Man’s Best Friend

Holocaust survivor Nina Dinar has always dreamt of hugging a Great Dane. Why? Because she was saved by one during the Holocaust. Born in Warsaw in 1926, Dinar always loved dogs and grew up raising them. During the war, she was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto and then sent to the Majdanek death camp. From there, Nina went to the Skarżysko-Kamienna labor camp, where the Nazi officer in charge would walk around with his Great Dane. The Nazis famously used dogs to attack and torture the prisoners. But, being a dog lover, Nina tried to call the dog over, and to everyone’s surprise, the dog walked over to Nina and licked her. Over the next few months, the dog would always find Nina wherever she was working and the two developed a special bond. In 1944, when the Germans decided to evacuate the camp, Nina was placed in a group marked for death. But, when the Nazi officer showed up, his dog immediately recognized Nina and she was moved to another group. Nina subsequently escaped a death march from Buchenwald and moved to Israel in 1948. She married, had two children, and returned to raising dogs. This week, thanks to friend and researcher Tammy Bar-Yosef, Nina fulfilled her dream.

Source: American Society for Yad Vashem Young Leadership Associates/Itai Bar-Yosef