An 83-year-old Holocaust survivor donated $1 million to help wounded veterans. He made two donations in memory of the American soldiers who saved his life.
After French police arrested his mother on July 16, 1942, Bernard Darty spent two years hiding from the Nazi occupation. The Germans sent his mother to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where Darty believes she died within weeks. He managed to survive by hiding with families in the outskirts of Paris until the area was liberated by Allied Forces following the Normandy Invasion in 1944.
“I vividly remember the arrival of the hundreds of thousands of American troops who landed in Normandy to liberate us in June 1944,” Darby wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “They were our saviors, doling out packets of sweets to half-starved, war-weary children who had almost given up hope for freedom.”
“The gratitude I feel to these men is beyond words,” he explained. “They freed our country and they saved our lives. Without American troops, my family and I simply would not have existed. I think of that every time I look at our family photos.”
“At 83 years old, I am one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors – thanks to the American troops who rescued me in what seems like a lifetime ago,” the French businessman stated. “And so this year I’m saying ‘thank you’ to the American soldiers of the 1940s by donating $1 million to organizations serving wounded American veterans today.”
After being rescued, Darty went on to serve in the French military. He later started a business that would become one of the largest appliance retailers in Europe. The Darty Group operates nearly 350 stores across three countries.
“(A)s I watched news stories this fall of hurricanes, flooding and wildfires striking America, inflicting suffering among civilians and veterans alike, I realized that I still had an important task left to complete in my life,” he wrote. “I had not yet given back to the American soldiers who saved my life nearly three-quarters of a century ago.”
“That is why I want to help modern American veterans today,” Darty continued. “They pursue the tradition of the young men who landed on the shores of Normandy in June 1944 and who I will never forget. In giving this donation, I want to thank Americans with all my heart for coming to rescue us in our hour of need.”
“But I also want to make a public stand in support of America,” he concluded. “I hope that my donation can trigger a movement and lead others to take action. My story shows it’s never too late to give back, especially for a cause that’s close to your heart. If it wasn’t too late for this octogenarian, it’s not too late for you.”
Darty donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross and $500,000 to the Wounded Warriors Project.