Louis Rogers passed away on January 23, 2020 at the age of 96. His son, Ken, shared a few words with us to highlight his extraordinary life. You can watch Louis’ Survivor testimony from the Holocaust Resource Center HERE.
Louis, at the age of 15, was a refugee from the Holocaust – a witness to history who was, until his later years, reluctant to share that experience. He never saw himself as a victim and never asked for anything from his community. What emerged from the experience was a deep grounding, a set of moral values, and a new way of looking at the world.
He was not a religious man in the formal sense – not even much of a spiritual being. He was always uncomfortable with ritual, but saw that it was important to family and community, and made sure to participate in his own way.
What he did accept fully was that the world was changing around him. He never railed at the change or resented it. Instead he observed with fascination and engaged in the change whenever he could. On his 96th birthday, when he received a brand new iPad, Dad clutched it to his chest and beamed like a 5-year old with a new toy. He saw an opportunity to do new things – to reach into new experiences.
My father was truly a man of his era – “the greatest generation.” He could have been the poster boy. It was a generation that built big things, and that brought huge change to our society and the social fabric that holds us together. It is probably the last generation of which we could honestly say that we stood on their shoulders.
Lou’s granddaughter Erica summed him up nicely: “When grandpa taught me how to play gin he said the rules were simple, don’t take a card if it doesn’t improve your hand, be patient, get rid of the cards that cost too much, essentially simplify. It works well to win a hand of gin, but it also works in living a true, simple and meaningful life. Love of family, not holding on to too much, keeping an eye on the bigger picture.”
Our community is full of quiet, giving individuals, who earn our respect every day. You do not have to be a big financial giver to be a big giver to others. To Lou, feeding the poor was foundational. Welcoming refugees – as he was once – was crucial. Educating our youth and providing opportunities to learn from experiences. That is what guided him.
Thank you Ken, for sharing wonderful thought about your dad with Jewish Buffalo. May his memory always be for blessing.