Happy Fourth of July! Many of you may be celebrating with fireworks and cookouts, which of course would not be complete without some our bunsbreads and treats, but don’t forget what this day is really about: celebrating the freedoms granted to us in our great country.

While most of us have a general understanding of what freedom means, Sigmund, one of the original three brothers, knows firsthand that freedom does not come free. In 1941, when Sigmund and Sol were 19 years old, they and their family were sent to concentration camps under the Nazi regime. For four years, the Jucker family lived in oppression, with no freedom under SS control.

Sigmund in front of Mark Seliger's photo used in his book When They Came To Take My Father - a compilation of photos and narratives of Holocaust survivors.

On May 8, 1945, Sigmund arose early, so he could wake everyone up in the camp, as he usually did.  On this day, Liberation Day, he arose to find no SS officers keeping watch; he did not see any officers in the camp at all.  The SS fled in such a hurry, they even neglected to turn on the electric fences. Sigmund found wire cutters and actually cut the wires on the gate giving he and the other prisoners their freedom. Sigmund was the first to take a breath of freedom outside the gate.  He fell to his knees and literally kissed the ground.

Because of this, celebrating freedom and the Fourth of July means so much more to the Jucker family than sparklers and parties. We hope as you celebrate with friends and family, you will take a moment to reflect on how wonderful our freedom is and thank all of those who fight for us to have these freedoms everyday.