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Teen Fundraises to Send 89-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor to Israel

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Seventeen-year-old Drew Principe has been looking for purpose and fulfillment and all signs led him to decide to raise funds and help send 89-year-old Henry Oster, a Holocaust survivor, to visit Israel and meet his last living relative and to be formally recognized by the Israeli Holocaust memorial as a survivor.

Principe and Oster’s path crossed when the latter was invited to share his Holocaust experience to the students of Viewpoint High School in Calabasas, Calif., where Principe was a student. When the 89-year-old man shared that he has yet to set foot in Israel, Principe decided to give the man the bracelet he was wearing which he purchased on his last trip to Israel.

In an interview with Ventura County Star, Principe shared what he was feeling at that moment: “Something inside of me felt compelled to give him the bracelet. This way, Oster would have a piece of Israel with him.” The bracelet, which has a Jewish prayer inscribed on it, apparently had a deep impact on Oster, who said that “It really is a gesture that cannot be measured. I don’t wear jewelry, but I have not taken this off except for the shower.”

After the incident, the pair kept in touch and the teenager learned a lot more about Oster’s life, specifically that he has yet to meet his last living relative in Israel and that he was still listed as a victim in the Holocaust memorial in Israel.

All this information prompted Principe to raise funds to make the trip to Israel happen for the man. Through letters sent to family and friends, the teen was able to raise close to $15,000, which Principe did not expect. “It kind of brought the community together,” he said. “It was incredible to watch.”

Although Oster was hesitant to accept the offer at first, he finally decided to do so saying, “I decided to honor my father and my parents and the desecrated Torah and all the victims who never had a chance.”

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