Cantor William Hauben

William Hauben – Teacher of Forgiveness


William Hauben

An excerpt from his book, “From the Flames: Miracles and Wonders and Survival”

‘I am often asked, “Cantor, how have you found the power to forgive?” And I tell them that forgiveness is part of the Jewish tradition, that the people who perpetrated the crimes against our people are for the most part not around anymore. How can we blame the children and grandchildren–they should not have to share the guilt.’

William Hauben was a teenager in Krakow Poland when the Nazis invaded his country in 1939. Immediately his life was changed. His family (father, mother and brother) were forced to move into a 16 block area of Krakow, the Jewish ghetto, walled off from the rest of the city. Guards were stationed 24 hours a day at the three entrances to the ghetto.


Cantor Hauben and two Bar Mitzvah boys

Hauben lived under Nazi rule. He was forced to live in close and unsanitary conditions with other members of Krakow’s Jewish community.  Dozens of members of his family were killed in the Holocaust. He often speaks of his eyewitness account of how non-Jews were also persecuted by the Nazis.  Several Polish citizens risked their lives to protect the Jewish people. He eventually was forced to work as an electrician, building concentration camps and ended up in a camp run by Amon Goethe, the vicious commandant portrayed in the film Schindler’s List. He survived after being transferred to six separate camps, eventually liberated by U.S. forces in May 1945.

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