The boxer who was forced to fight for his life in Auschwitz

by Leah Rosenberg

Salamo Arouch was a Jew from Greece who was also a boxing champion. What once was a hobby became his only chance to survive Auschwitz.

Boxing in Auschwitz

No one should ever be forced to make the decision of literally fighting an opponent to save their lives or becoming the weak one and being shot by the Nazis. There are many details about the Holocaust that people are unaware of. Stories like that of Salamo Arouch are not commonly told. How many undefeated Jewish boxing champions were there? And how many were forced to box in Auschwitz in front of the Nazis while the Nazis laughed and treated them so terribly?

Although Arouch survived, his family did not. That is the devastating news that no one wanted to receive after they were liberated.

And yet, Salamo decided to build after his loss. He decided he didn’t want the Nazis to win. That is true heroism. His title as an undefeated boxer is nothing compared to the heroic act of rebuilding after the loss of the Holocaust. Living life again and rebuilding after going through the Holocaust is not a given. It requires going against nature. It seems irrational to want to move on when the rest of your family could not. But that is the heroism of Holocaust survivors.

Sadly, antisemitism is still so prevalent. The good people of the world were hoping and praying that antisemitism would die with the Holocaust. But it didn’t. And we need to hope and pray that more people learn about the Holocaust and hear the stories of those like Salamo Arouch.

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