Ephraim Mol was a child survivor of the Holocaust who has been telling the inspirational story of his life to visitors at Yad Vashem and at other public gatherings for years.

Last week, Mol suffered a stroke and died as he was preparing to deliver the Kel Maleh Rachamim prayer at Yad Vashem’s Holocaust memorial services.

Born in Belgium in 1938, 2-year-old Ephraim was separated from his parents, who were arrested by the Nazis. The boy was sent to a monastery in France, where he was looked after by nuns before being taken in by a Jewish couple. As deportations of Jews in Paris intensified in 1942, he was hidden in an apartment in the suburbs of Paris by a Righteous Gentile until liberation in 1944.

Having grown up as an orphan in post-war France, Mol enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and fought in the Algerian War. Following his discharge, he immigrated to Israel, settling in the Sde Eliyahu kibbutz, where he encountered the teachings of the RebbeRabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. He became Torah-observant, and he and his wife, Rachel, established a warm Chabad home.

One of the more fascinating stories he would tell was when he was ordered to shave his beard so as to be able to wear a gas mask during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. As a Chabad-Lubavitch Chassid, the idea was intolerable, and in the middle of a war, he reached out to the Rebbe for advice on what to do.

Here is the account that he shared with JEM: