WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – Why falafel helps one holocaust survivor to never forget what he endured, and survived.
Avraham ‘Dugo’ Leitner is 89 years old.
Every January 18th, he makes a point of eating falafel.
It’s his way of remembering the terrible hunger he felt as a 14-year-old on the 1944 death march from Auschwitz.
“I smelled the scent of burning bodies and I saw flames two meters high,” says now 89-year-old Leitner as he reflects on the years in Auschwitz. “I asked my father what is going on? And my father said, ‘my son, it seems like we’ve reached hell.'”
As he made his way on the march, it was the thought of Bilkelach, miniature Challah rolls, that kept him going.
After he moved to Israel after the war, he discovered falafel, and says it reminded him of Bilkelach.
His story has touched many Israelis. Last year, Israel’s president sat with him and shared a falafel.