The Intermountain Jewish News interviewed David Bram at his home in Colorado Springs in the early 1990s. A successful commercial real estate developer, his unpretentious ego contrasted with his professional status. Bram welcomed the new IJN freelancer as if they had been fast friends for years. When Zita, his beloved wife, brought out tea, he looked at her with sparkling eyes. It wasnt until the middle of the interview that Bram mentioned that he had survived the Holocaust. This man, who had lost and suffered so much, did not drop his gaze. If anything, he seemed more concerned about the reporters comfort than his own.
Bram, who died Feb. 20, 2016, at the age of 88, loved life despite all the horrors it threw at him. Born in 1927 in Rusiec, Poland, he was the oldest son of six children born to Mendel and Leah Bram. In 1939, he started working in forced labor camps, and was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942.
The Nazis abandoned a sub-camp of Mauthausen, where Bram toiled after Auschwitz, in the middle of the night on March 3, 1945. The US Army liberated the camp two days later.
Bram immigrated to New York City in 1945, moved to Omaha, where he married his wife Zita, and relocated with their family to Colorado Springs in 1954. Together with his wife, Bram developed numerous businesses in the Springs and Woodland Park: shopping centers, furniture stores, campgrounds, hotels and motels, and houses of worship representing all denominations.
A driving force behind the construction of Temple Shalom in Colorado Springs, Bram spoke tirelessly about the Holocaust to students and groups. He supported JNF, American Jewish World Service, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), UJA, Hillel and others. Whatever sustained Jewish faith and a love of Israel, he embraced. He had seen how easy it was to destroy Jewish life.
Bram was a giant of a man, and our condolences go out to his daughters Renee Rockford and Linda Bram, his many grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Some stories evaporate over time. Not so with David Bram. Years after he gently smiled and waved goodbye, we still see him proud, joyful, determined and loving, in spite of everything. In a way, that is the story of Jewry after the Holocaust. David Bram embodied that remarkable story. May his memory be a blessing.
Copyright © 2016 by the Intermountain Jewish News