Holocaust survivor uses banknote clue to find the family of 'kind' soldier who liberated her

In 1945, Lily Ebert, now 90, was liberated from a German munitions factory where she worked as slave labor after being transferred from the Auschwitz death camp.

A few weeks after being liberated, an American soldier shared some words of positivity with her, "The start to a new life. Good luck and happiness," he wrote on a German banknote.

The simple gesture was life-changing for Ebert and the banknote became one of her most treasured keepsakes.

"This soldier was the first human being who was kind to us," she told NBC News. "It was the first time after this terrible life that somebody was kind and I knew that somebody wants to help."



Lily Ebert is the woman with the soldier's arm around her.via Dov Forman / Twitter

Ebert's mother, brother, and sister were all killed at Auschwitz. Her two younger sisters were liberated with her at the munitions factory. She believes that she survived the ordeal due to her responsibility to take care of her sisters.

"I promised myself that if I survived by some miracle, I would tell the world what happened there," Ebert said. "The next generation and next generations should know the story so that something like that should not be repeated to any human being ever."

Ebert kept the banknote in a photo album at her home in London where it was discovered by her great-grandson, 16-year-old Dov Forman. Forman had taken it upon himself to start documenting his great-grandmother's stories as a survivor so they would never be forgotten.

"My great-grandma obviously isn't going to be around forever and her story will eventually become my whole family's responsibility to carry on," Forman said.

Intrigued by the transcription on the banknote, Foreman tweeted out a photo of the bill along with photographs of the unknown soldier and Ebert taken a few days after liberation.

The only clue to the man's identity was an inscription on the banknote that reads: "Assistant to Chaplain Schacter."

The "Chaplain Schacter" eluded to on the bill was Chaplain Herschel Schacter, an American Orthodox rabbi who served as a chaplain in the Third Army's VIII Corps. Schacter participated in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp and helped relocate survivors, including Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

The tweet went viral and Forman received responses from all over the world. Eventually, he learned the identity of the solider, Private Hyman Shulman from New Jersey.

In late 1944, Shulman was removed from the front lines after being injured in the Battle of the Bulge and assigned to to serve as Assistant to the Jewish Chaplain to the US Army, Rabbi Herschel Schachter.

Unfortunately, Shulman died seven years ago at the age of 91.

However, Forman was able to locate and contact Schulman's children in New York and bring the families together digitally through Zoom. "It was really special. It felt like we were family, we just clicked," Forman said.

Image: Lilly Ebert and Dov Forman (right) hold a Zoom call with Arlene and Jason Schulman, descendants of the American GI that liberated Lilly during the war, along with Lilly's daughter and husband Bilha and Julian Weider.via Dov Foreman

"I know that this soldier told his family, he wrote to his family every day the stories that he saw," Ebert said. "With that, I feel some connection to them."

Shulman wrote over 1100 letters home during the war. Some of them are archived at POBA.

The families re planning another Zoom call soon and have discussed meeting in person when coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted.

"I hope one day that I will meet them personally, I would very much like to have that," Ebert said.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
True

Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

Keep Reading Show less
True


Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.