Al Katz: Holocaust Survivor Nearly Killed by Florida Public

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Marti Oakley

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Al Katz survived the Holocaust in a Nazi prison camp. As a youth, he spent seven years in forced labor, nearly starved, and saw four Jewish boys shot through the head. Katz survived the Holocaust only to again experience the horrors of imprisonment and torture in the final year of his life. The Manatee County Public Guardian’s abuse of Katz reminded Katz of Nazi  cruelty and sadism. For six weeks in 2009, Katz was kept in locked units and denied the companionship of his family and friends and decent medical care. Retreating into teenage memories, Katz believed he was once again a prisoner of the Nazis and subject to their torture. In just two months of guardianship, Katz was nearly dead.

Unlike many victims of Public Guardians, Katz escaped before he died. Katz’s daughter, Dr. Beverly Newman, fought Manatee County’s abuse of her father. With Katz nearly dead and his estate seriously depleted, the Public Guardian was replaced by a professional guardian of the property. Katz’s daughter took him home and cared for him day and night for the last eight months of his life.

Beverly Newman has a Doctor of Education and Child Psychology. She dedicated much of 2010 to caring for her father, after rescuing him from an abusive guardianship. Dr. Newman is now an active advocate for rights of guardianship victims.

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