According to The Pulse Of Radio, DEVICE and DISTURBED frontman David Draiman is using his celebrity status to bring the story of one Holocaust survivor to a wider audience. Draiman, a resident of Austin, Texas, has teamed with local Hasidic Rabbi Yosef Levertov to bring Leah Johnson to Austin on June 4 to speak at the Dell Jewish Community Campus. Johnson was only 16 when the Nazis stormed her hometown of Lida in the country of Belarus and set it on fire. She and her family found shelter in the forest with the Bielski brothers, three Jewish siblings who set up a hidden camp in the woods that saved the lives of more than 1,200 Jews.
Draiman will be on hand at the event to both introduce Johnson and share his own family connection with the Holocaust. Both of Draiman‘s maternal grandparents were survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, while many others on his mother’s side were wiped out by the Nazis.
The DISTURBED song “Never Again”, from 2010’s “Asylum” album, was written about the Holocaust.
The United States Holocaust Museum has featured Draiman in their “Voices On Anti-Semitism” podcasts.
Draiman is proud of and deeply connected to his Jewish upbringing, and even spent a year after high school doing religious studies in Israel that could have set his life on a different path. “The level of study that I was at, I was probably only about two or three years away from being ordained as a rabbi, so I really needed to figure out in my head where I wanted to go with things,” he said. “And I just couldn’t do it habitually anymore. I grew a very strong dislike for the organized aspect of religion over the course of time.”