Born: January 31, 1927
Abraham was born to a Jewish family in Kovno, a city picturesquely situated at the confluence of two rivers. With an opera company, chic stores and lively nightclubs, it was often called "Little Paris." The city had a large Jewish community of 38,000 and was known for its extensive Hebrew school system. Abraham's father was a barber, and his mother was a beautician.
1933-39: When Abraham was a kid his family used to go to his grandparents' house for Sunday dinner. In the winter they would take a horse-drawn sleigh. His parents would bundle him up in fur blankets, and they would set off, the horses' bells ringing, their sleigh gliding over the white roads. When his family arrived, Abraham's grandfather would kiss him gently on the forehead, his beard tickling his face, and his grandmother would hug him tightly.
1940-44: Abraham was 14 when the Germans occupied Kovno and forced the city's Jews into a fenced-off ghetto. One day the Germans started rounding up all children to take them away. Abraham scrambled to hide in a potato cellar with two mothers and their babies. Through a crack he saw a German guard searching for escapees. One baby started crying and Abraham thought, "Please, God, please!" The wailing suddenly stopped. Later, he gave the "all clear" sign and they climbed out of their dark hole. One baby was dead, accidentally choked by his mother.