LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4 (JTA) — An 83-year old man who survived the Holocaust has been killed in a freak accident on a century-old cable car here.
Leon Praport died Feb. 1 after suffering severe head and chest injuries when the Angels Flight funicular he and his wife were riding apparently slipped its cable and plummeted downhill, smashing into a second car.
Lola Praport, an avid painter, suffered a skull fracture and chest injuries and reportedly was in guarded but stable condition at a local hospital.
A New Jersey resident who formerly lived in Israel, Praport was born in Poland into a large extended family, relatives told The Los Angeles Times.
During World War II, family members were deported to concentration camps, including Auschwitz, with Praport emerging as the sole survivor.
Relatives and neighbors described Praport and Lola, 80, as a couple with a zest for life.
They drove their own car, traveled frequently to places such as Prague, the Colorado Rockies, Israel and Hawaii, were active volunteers in their community, and were particularly close to their children and grandchildren.
The Praports were celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary with a trip to Los Angeles when the fatal accident occurred.
One grandson, Dan Praport of New York, said that his grandparents worshiped at Temple Beth Ohr, and that his grandfather would lead the services when the rabbi was absent.
Before moving to the United States in the early 1980s, the Praports and their two sons lived in Israel, where Leon Praport owned a business in the fish processing industry,
Angels Flight, a rare functioning historical icon in a city that reinvents itself every few decades, was inaugurated on Dec. 31, 1901, lifting passengers 400 times each day up and down a block-long steep incline in downtown Los Angeles.
It was closed in 1969 for lack of patrons, but reopened in 1996.
The only other recorded accident occurred in 1913, when a cable control failed and a woman was injured jumping off the funicular.