Collection brings Holocaust survivors together

Renato Zarfati reunites with family in Italy

Published On: Oct 31 2012 05:56:06 PM EDT   Updated On: Nov 01 2012 10:33:54 AM EDT
AVENTURA, Fla. -

An online collection of children displaced during the Holocaust reunited a South Florida man with his family in Italy.

In 1943, Renato Zarfati was 6 years old. He was a Jewish boy living in a Fascist Italy.

"A lady screamed in the street, 'Run, run! The Nazis are coming! They're taking women and children,'" said Elvira, Renato's sister.

A neighbor pointed out Elvira's father.

"They say, 'This is a Jew.' They take my father," said Elvira.

The Nazis took him to Auschwitz, where he was killed. From then on, the Zarfati family -- their mother and four children -- was on the run, living and hiding in the streets.

"They'd be in sewers, caverns, in cellars, and basements," said Marco Zarfati, Renato's son.

"That's why we're alive," said Renato Zarfati.

Fast forward 69 years -- Renato is now a retired singer and businessman who is living in Aventura in the age of technology.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum started a project called "Remember Me," where the organization posted hundreds of pictures of children displaced during the Holocaust online. The images made their way around the world, and a family member recognized two faces.

"I take it. I see it's true. This is me," said Renato Zarfati.

There was a picture of Renato, and another one of his older sister as children. The two photographs are all that's left of their painful childhood.

"It was the first time I ever saw a picture of my dad at a young age," said Marco.

The images have reunited them with family members from Italy, and they have also acted as reminders of how much the children overcame.

"I defeated Hitler. I'm Jewish, I'm alive," said Renato Zarfati. 

On December 9th, South Floridians can learn more about the "Remember Me" project when the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum visits Boca Raton. The day-long festivities will offer interactive workshops and film screenings rarely shown outside of the museum’s walls.

Click here for more information.