Aron Halpern, who passed away on March 30 as a result of complications due to COVID-19, was a self-made man.

He survived multiple concentration camps, coming to the United States as a penniless immigrant, and established a proud Jewish family and a successful career.

Born in Kazimierz, Poland (a Jewish neighborhood in Krakow) in 1927 to his parents, Mayer and Sarah Halpern, he grew up together with his older brother Jacob in pre-war Poland.

Mayer was a learned scholar, and Sarah ran a gift and crystal shop. Aron’s idyllic childhood was upended in 1939 with the German occupation of Krakow. In March 1941, the Halperns, together with 70,000 other Krakow Jews, were forced into the Podgorze Ghetto. Aron and his brother were among the 1,000 of those Jews who survived.

After the Holocaust, he emigrated to America, where his first job was driving an ice-cream truck.

In 1959, he married Zahava Tishman in New York City. They later moved to Southeast Florida, where Halpern would establish an imports business, eventually going into real estate. His projects included the revitalization of historic storefronts in Hollywood, Fla.

He was a founding member of Young Israel of Hollywood Beach, where he attended and prayed for decades.

Halpern is survived by his daughter, Sarah Baxt, and grandchildren, Jeffrey and Danielle Baxt. He was predeceased by his wife, Zahava, in 2000.

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