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David Schaecter: Spearheading the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach & the March of the Living

David Schaecter:  Spearheading the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach & the March of the Living



Introduction to David Schaecter.   2:14 min.  Interview:  Raymond Elman.  Post-Production:  Lee Skye.  Recorded 5/22/2022, Miami.



From David Schaecter (b. 1929)

“I was born in Czechoslovakia in a very small ‘hamlet,’ not even the size of a town, in the Tokaji Mountains area close to the Czech / Hungarian border. In April 1940, my father was taken away from our family and one year later, they came for the rest of us.  I was eleven years old at the time. My mother, two younger sisters, my older brother and I were taken by cattle car to Auschwitz. After we arrived, my mother and sisters were pushed away and I never saw them again. My brother, who was 4 years older than I, told me to stand on his feet so I looked older. Miraculously we were taken together and stayed together for 1 ½ years before we were again taken together, this time to Buchenwald.  We were in Buchenwald for close to two years when my brother gave up and was shot to death.  I remained in Buchenwald for several more months until I was again put on a train as the Germans were clearing out the camps with allied troops approaching.  This time the train was not a cattle car but some type of supply train.  I escaped into the woods during the confusion of the moment when the train was bombed by the allied troops.  After hiding by day, and traveling by night towards the Czech border, I was fortunate to be found by the Czech partisans.  They took me in and nursed me to health for the next 3 months until the war was over. I was a boy of 14 ½ years.   In 1945, I was taken to Prague where I was cared for by the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) for the next four years.  I lived in a youth hostel and studied until 1949 when I was able to travel as an exchange student to USA.  I am the only survivor of a close and large family of 105 people.

I arrived in the United States in January, 1950 at the age of 20, and registered at the University of Colorado at Boulder. After two years I transferred to UCLA where I graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. I was hired by a British-American family to develop and grow two different branches of their business.  They transferred me to San Francisco, then Seattle, and eventually Miami in 1956.  After two years in Miami, I started my own company and found great success. I have called Miami home for 66 years.  I was married to my first wife, Marvis, of blessed memory, who passed away in 2005 after 53 years of marriage. I am re-married to a wonderful woman, Sydney. I am blessed with two adult children, five adult grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

I have been actively involved in the local and national Jewish community for more than sixty years. I take pride as a founder of the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach and have devoted countless hours to meeting with grade school, high school, and university students. Since the completion of the “Memorial” thirty-five years ago, we have recorded more than 3 million visitors. The Memorial is the place where I educate and contemplate.  It is the only burial site for my murdered family and that of many others. It is the place of solace to the elderly survivors who call south Florida home.”

~ David Schaecter


The videos below are organized by Success Factor, and run between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.




Is it true that you were one of the creators of “The March of the Living”?



Tell us about the evolution of the concept for “The March of the Living.”


EMPATHY:   2:26 min.

My father was born in Rovno, Ukraine in 1894 and told me about the persecution of Jews by Ukrainians. Yet in 2019, Ukraine elected a Jewish president while the United States has yet to do so.



How did you get your feet on the ground in the United States?


SELF-CONFIDENCE:   3:25 min.

What brought you to Miami?



Tell us about Museo Vault.


SERENDIPITY:   10:09 min.

Who was your partner in Museo Vault?



Tell me about your involvement with Mordecai Kaplan and the Reconstructionist Movement.



How did you assemble the core team that created the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach?