By COLlive reporter
Yosef Binyomin Kaltmann, resident of Melbourne, Australia, passed away on 25 Adar II 5776.
He was 87.
Born into a prominent family in the orthodox community of Bratislava, Yossi as a child and teenager studied in the famed Pressburg Yeshiva- Yesodai ha- Torah.
During the Second World War, Yossi’s parents were actively involved in collecting money and jewelry in order to bribe senior Nazi officers to halt the deportation of Bratislava’s Jewish community.
As the war progressed, the family was forced to into hiding. Even whilst in hiding they helped to save other Jews from being caught by the Nazis.
When he was 16 years old, Yossi bravely stood up to a Nazi soldier in defence of his father upon arrival at Sered Concentration camp.
Upon his liberation, he was desperate to get home to Slovakia and search for any remaining family. With just the striped prison clothes on his back and not a penny to his name, he attempted to board a train from Germany to Bratislava. He was refused entry. Ticketless, homeless and stateless, he was undaunted. He jumped on top of a goods train for the 3-day journey back home. Yossi had to duck each time the train approached a tunnel.
Unfortunately, he was to discover that he was the sole survivor of his immediate family. Yossi was broken, but resolved to begin his life anew.
Yossi moved to Israel and together with many other Holocaust survivors, and he volunteered as a soldier in the War of Independence. After the war, he continued to serve in a unit commanded by General Moshe Dayan. Yossi continued to keep Shabbos to the best of his ability even under very trying circumstances.
Eventually settling in Melbourne, Australia, he built a women’s garment manufacturing business, and achieved his most important accomplishment, marrying his beloved Shulamit and they raised together three children, Ruth, Menashe and Areyah.
Yossi was active in helping others and always tried to bring simcha to all around him. Yossi was a walking Kiddush Hashem, his Emunah always shining brightly. “His legacy of love of his family, hospitality, generosity to the needy, and a kind word to everyone he met will always remain with us,” the family said.
He is survived by his children, Ruth Szmerling of Melbourne, Australia, Menashe Kaltmann of Melbourne, Australia and Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann of Columbus, Ohio; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The levaya took place in Melbourne.
Baruch dayan haemes.