continued After the war Jaros and his family returned to their hometown.
There they found a mass grave containing the bodies of those who had stayed behind in the ghetto. Jaros and others exhumed the bodies, giving each a proper burial.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “We would put a corpse on a blanket, and say, ‘Oh, that’s so and so.’”
With their home destroyed the family worked their way to the United States-sector of Berlin. They lived in a camp for displaced people awaiting visas to come to North America.
In 1948 Jaros received a visa to move to Canada. He was 15 and went alone to Toronto since his parents had not yet been approved for visas. In 1951 the rest of his family was allowed to move to the United States, settling in Schenectady. He soon joined them.
Jaros eventually became a lawyer.
“After the war, while I was back in our town, a number of Nazi collaborators and Nazi soldiers were on trial for war crimes,” he said. “I and a few other kids were able to sneak into the court and watch the proceedings. Watching the attorneys make their case was like watching magic. I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.”
Today he is a special counsel to the New York State Association of Towns.
Jaros has been a member of the Holocaust Survivors Friends and Educational Center in Albany for years. The group provides speakers so people can learn the lessons of the Holocaust. Jaros is the last survivor giving the talks.
“It’s good that students learn about the Holocaust in school,” he said. “I think it helps, though, when they can put a face on it. I lived it. I can tell them what it was really like. It’s important for people to remember this happened so that it’ll never happen again.
“I’ve seen the horrendous and terrible ways human beings treated and mistreated each other,” he said. “I’ve also seen amazing kindness in the face of extreme danger. I know the goodness in people. These are important lessons.”