Lawmakers sing to survivor of Holocaust, synagogue shooting

  • In this Oct. 29, 2018 photo, Holocaust survivor Judah Samet, 80, sits in his living room in Pittsburgh. Samet who escaped the Oct. 27, 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and a police officer who was wounded responding to the massacre will be among the guests sitting with first lady Melania Trump at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)

WASHINGTON — In what may have been a first at a State of the Union address, lawmakers from both parties broke out into song Tuesday, serenading a survivor of Ocotber’s Pittsburgh synagogue shooting with an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday.”

Judah Samet is also a Holocaust survivor and celebrated his 81st birthday Tuesday.

President Donald Trump saluted Samet during the State of the Union, saying Samet can still recall the moment nearly 75 years ago when he was put on a train after 10 months in a concentration camp. Suddenly the train screeched to a halt. A soldier appeared. Samet’s family braced for the worst, but then his father cried out with joy, “It’s the Americans.”

Lawmakers jumped to their feet and applauded as Trump told the story, and they spontaneously sang “Happy Birthday” as Samet smiled and waved.

Noting the singing lawmakers, Trump told Samet that members of Congress “wouldn’t do that for me.”

Samet immigrated to Israel after World War II and served in the Israeli Defense Forces before moving to the United States in the 1960s.

In October he escaped the shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, in which 11 people were killed.


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