An overflow attendance gathered at Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame, California on May 5, 2005 for the annual Yom Hashoah observance. Sixty years have passed since the Holocaust ended, and Floyd Dade, one of the American soldiers, who liberated the Mauthausen and Gunskirchen Concentration camps in Austria came to share his memories. He came to talk about the unbelievable horrors he witnessed, experiences he could not easily forget. Over the past 60 years Floyd dedicated his life to reminding people of the time when he saw the results of man’s inhumanity to man, and he strongly felt that the world ought to know and not forget.
Floyd was a very popular speaker about the Holocaust in the Greater San Francisco area. He carried his message not only to Synagogues, and Jewish organizations, but also to schools and community groups. He spoke wisely, and thoughtfully. He was someone who really cared. A highly dedicated and devoted righteous gentile.
I remember that night of Shoah observance well. I stood at the entrance of the Synagogue to greet Floyd. I shook his hand and said: “Thank you. I am one of those barely alive emaciated slave laborer inmates you liberated in Gunskirchen 60 years ago.” We did not meet then, and 60 years is a long time to have to wait to say thank you. How fortunate that I had this opportunity now.
As the featured speakers, we shared the Bimah (pulpit) that night. The Liberator and the Liberated, now both equally free men. We both remembered… And I said “Shechecheyonu” - a prayer of gratitude - How wonderful, that I was granted life to reach this day.
Surrounded in his last days by Edris, his wife of 42 years, Floyd Dade passed away peacefully on September 27, 2006 in San Francisco, CA. May the example of his life and the inspiration of his memory be for a blessing for us all.