Rabbi Yonason Binyamin Jungreis, a Holocaust survivor with rabbinic roots, passed away on April 29.

He was born in pre-World War II Hungary to Rabbi Avraham and Miriam Jungreis, where his father was a rabbi in the city of Szeged. The younger Jungreis witnessed the persecution his local Jewish community faced in the leadup to and the invasion of the Nazis in March 1944, before his whole family was deported on a cattle car bound for Auschwitz.

However, they had a relative working in the office of Hungarian Jew Rudolph Kastner, a journalist, lawyer and one of the leaders of the Budapest Aid and Rescue Committee (Va’adat Ezrah Vehatzalah, or Vaada), which smuggled Jewish refugees into Hungary and then helped them escape when the Nazis invaded that country, too. Kastner worked with the SS to save Jewish lives (he was later accused of being a Nazi collaborator and assassinated in Israel in 1957), and in doing so, the Jungreis family had an opportunity to escape with others. During a transport to Budapest, they were removed and placed on the “Kastner train” with about 1,600 other Jews to be saved. They spent a short time in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in a designated Hungarian section before they finally made it to Switzerland in August of 1944.

Upon their arrival in the United States in 1947, the Jungreis family moved to the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, N.Y., where they worked to rebuild their shattered lives. Jungreis studied in local yeshivahs, including Yeshiva Chaim Berlin, before going to study in higher institutions of Torah learning in Israel. He became a prized student at Ponevezh Yeshiva in Israel, and then later, back in New York, at Yeshiva University, where he earned his semicha.

He was appointed a rabbi at Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel of Canarsie, a position he held for decades before spending his later years in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Jungreis was known to be friendly and smart, a devout man who studied Torah daily.

His sister was the renowned Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, the founder of the Hineni Heritage Center, and an international inspirational speaker and mentor who worked to bring thousands of Jews back to their roots. She passed away in 2016.

Jungreis is survived by his wife, Goldie; their five children; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a brother, Rabbi Jacob Jungreis.

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