Videos of Sam.
They Include his talk at a 2017 event celebrating Yom HaShoah at the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Great Neck, NY.
Holocaust Survivor, Now Living in Queens, Details Remarkable Triumph Over Tragedy
By Amanda Farinacci Queens | Nov. 20, 2018
At 90-years-old, Sam Solasz still goes to work every morning at the company he built, Master Purveyors.
He founded the company in 1957. It’s now one of the largest meat suppliers in America, providing beef to restaurants like Peter Lugars.
Sam’s story is made all the more remarkable because he’s also a Holocaust survivor, who reached New York with just $10 in his pocket.
In all the years since, he’s rarely talked about his wartime experiences, how he repeatedly, and improbably escaped death.
“I never spoke about it, I never wanna bring it up,” Sam said. “I didn’t wanna share pain.”
But now he is telling his story in his memoir “Angel of the Ghetto,” which details his harrowing life in Nazi-occupied Poland. One of the stories he recalls is witnessing the infamous burning of the Great Synagogue of Bialystok, where thousands of Jews died locked inside it. He was just 13.
“I was standing and watching the way the synagogue was burning,” Sam said. “And some Christians stood, cried. Some people helped. And like two blocks away, we were there. [For] two and a half days the synagogue was burning, with between 2,000 or 3,000 people. The sky was red.”
Solasz survived in the Jewish ghetto by smuggling medicine, food and guns to the resistance, earning himself the nickname “Malach,” or angel.
He says he still has nightmares of being beaten and stabbed, and seeing friends buried alive.
In 1943, Solasz, his parents and seven siblings were packed into boxcars with 8,000 other Jews for the death camp in Treblinka.
At one point he jumped from the moving train, and spent the next two years working on a farm, wearing a Catholic medal, attending church and passing himself as a non-Jew.
Only two others from that train survived.
When the war ended, Solasz made his way to New York, working as a butcher for a large meat supplier.
Today, Master Purveyors is an $85 million a year business, a company Solasz was inspired to start after an anti-Semitic comment.
“The manager said, ‘Too bad Hitler didn’t come to this country and wipe the rest of you out.’ So I ran over to a bench, and I grabbed a machete. So he ran.”
Solasz, who has been married 60 years and lives in Queens and Florida, says he’s sharing his story so history doesn’t repeat itself. Citing the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, he says it’s an idea that’s not so farfetched.
His book, he says, is a reminder of evil in the world, and the resiliency it takes to overcome it.