than any other photos, this famous photograph captures the
essence of the horrors of Holocaust: Warsaw 1943, a little
Jewish boy, dressed in short trousers and a cap, raises his
arms in surrender with lowered eyes, as a Nazi soldier
trains his machine gun on him ..
The photo has come to symbolize the suffering of the entire
Jewish people during the Holocaust. Who was this little boy?
Did he survive World War 2?
After the war the photograph appeared in files, exhibitions,
magazines, books, newspaper articles on the Holocaust and
television documentary programs. And millions of people were
brought to believe that the frightened little boy of this
poignant photograph was murdered, too. As Washington Post
commented: The photograph goes right to the heart - no
doubt the boy, like millions of other Jews, were killed by
the Nazis ...
But after several decades the boy was found - Tsvi C.
Nussbaum, a physician living in Rockland County in upstate
New York, USA, was the then seven-year old little boy.
told how he and his aunt were arrested in front of a Warsaw
hotel, where Jews with foreign passports had gathered to
find a way to escape Poland. He remembered the date, July
13, 1943, and how he was told to put his hands up: I
remember there was a soldier in front of me, he told the
newspaper, recalling the picture, and he ordered me to
raise my hands.
Nussbaum’s story is an especially tragic one, most notably
because his parents had immigrated to then Palestine in
1935. But they found life too difficult there, and returned
to the town of Sandomierz, Poland, in 1939. Nussbaum’s
parents were murdered before the Jews were deported, and his
brother simply disappeared. He and his aunt went to Warsaw
and managed to live there as gentiles for over a year. When
caught, they were deported to the KZ camp, Bergen-Belsen in
few days before the liberation Tsvi almost died but a doctor
- a German doctor - stayed to keep him alive. The little
Jewish boy miraculously survived the Holocaust.
In 1945 Nussbaum went to Palestine and spent the next eight
years in what became the state of Israel. Then in 1953 he
went to America. He arrived not knowing a word of English,
and excelled in science. He went to medical school, and
became an ear, nose, and throat specialist, largely
motivated by the desire to help his uncle, who has a speech
defect as a result of a larynx damaged in the concentration
He got married, and had four daughters, and two
grandchildren. He kept that famous
photograph, with another one of himself at that age, on the
wall of his waiting room. In a recent interview he said: I
feel a tremendous guilt … why did I survive?