Hospital helps Holocaust survivor celebrate 100th birthday in style

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Holocaust survivor receives free haircut on 100th birthday
Michelle Charlesworth reports from Manhasset, NY with the heartwarming story.

MANHASSET, New York (WABC) -- A Holocaust survivor received quite the special present for his 100th birthday.

Five years ago, Jack Betteil underwent a lifesaving heart procedure at Northwell Health after he was unable to breathe.

At the time, he made a promise to himself to receive a "free haircut" if he made it to the century mark.

Just one day after reaching that milestone, Betteil returned to the hospital Wednesday to thank his cardiologist, but upon arrival he was surprised with that free haircut.

On hand was Jamie Mazzei, owner of Nubest Salon, who did the honors.

In his lifetime, Betteli survived so much, having gone through six concentration camps from age 15 to 22.

He was 70 pounds when he was liberated.

His family from Poland was tortured, murdered - but he survived.

"100 of us in one barrack, more than 100, there was a urine pail in the corner," he recounted about the harrowing experience.

At 95, he went through a minimally invasive heart surgery at Northwell Health, where Dr. Bruce Rutkin saved his life.

"We were lucky there was a new way without having to do open heart surgery," said Dr. Rutkin.

When asked about his tips for longevity, Betteil's advice was simple. Eat fresh food, lots of oranges, cherish your family and always help others.

"People are good to you, you got to be good to people," he said. "Be good to your friends."

As for his future plans, Betteil says he just wants to continue his woodworking.


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