Appel, John

John Appel was born August 21, 1937 in what were then the Dutch East Indies, where his parents supervised a sugar plantation.  When the Japanese invaded and occupied the area in the Second World War, John and his family were held in an internment camp, living in very difficult conditions.  John’s father was taken as

Parker, Ted

Edward (Ted) Parker was born March 30, 1925 in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  He grew up in Massachusetts and Florida, as the family moved back and forth during those years.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Depression and the early years of the war, by which time he was attending the Governors’ Academy in Massachusetts. 

Hacker, Alex

Alex Hacker was born in Budapest, Hungary on May 7, 1926.  His father was a successful businessman in the vegetable oil business, and because of that  – as well as Hungary’s alliance with Nazi Germany – Alex and his family and the Jews of Hungary in general were shielded from the immediate brutality of the

Samet, Judah

Judah Samet was born in Debrecen, Hungary on February 5, 1938.  He attributes his wartime survival to his mother, whose brave actions brought Judah and his siblings through the war.  Hungary’s Jews had been insulated from the worst horrors of the Shoah for most of the war, but all that ended with the German invasion

Fazekas, Leslie

Leslie Fazekas was born on September 28, 1925, in Debrecen, Hungary.  He grew up in a middle class family in the well-assimilated Jewish community, alongside his younger brother.   He did well in school, and was preparing to go to university, just as wartime anti-Semitic restrictions were beginning to be felt in Hungary.  But his

Hirschl, Helena

Helena Hirschl (nee Beinhacker) was born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1928.  An only child, she grew up in a well-to-do assimilated family, and her father was in the construction business.  Helena remembers the prewar period in largely positive terms.  She was unaware of the hatred bubbling beneath the surface; she had friends and liked school,

Gasper, Lidia

Lidia Gasper was born in 1928 in Szekszard, Hungary. Before the Holocaust, she had a good life. She had other Jewish friends in her town, her father had a mill that gave them water, and she had a bat mitzvah. She had to go to another town to go to school, and this is where

Olsson, Eva

Eva Olsson grew up in Hungary, born into a Jewish family in Satu Mare, Hungary. She remembers the family’s Hasidic traditions, and the poverty and simplicity of her early life. Like other Hungarian Jews, Eva was comparatively isolated from the war raging all around them; they heard rumours and such, but as Hungary was allied

Langer, Manny

Manny Langer was born June 6th 1929, in Lodz Poland to a large Jewish family, with three sisters and two brothers. Before the beginning of the Second World War, his family had a successful Kosher dairy business. In the morning he attended Hebrew school, and in the afternoon Polish school. In addition to Hebrew school,

Zhao Zong Ren

Zhao Zong Ren is a Chinese citizen who was a victim of Japan’s system of forced labour during the Second World War.  He is actively seeking justice for the ways in which he was exploited and harmed during that distant conflict.  Mr. Zhao  – only 14 at the time – recalls being tortured by the

Gao Xiongfei and Li Liangjei

Gao Xiongfei and Li Liangjei are Chinese citizens who were victims of Japan’s system of forced labour during the Second World War.  Both of them are actively seeking justice for the ways in which they were exploited and harmed during that distant conflict.  Mr. Li is currently the President of the Chinese Slave Laborer Association,

Pietrzyk, Jenny

Jenny Pietrzyk was born in 1920s Poland, and she was a teenager by the time the war came.  Finding herself in eastern Poland, Jenny and her family were in the Soviet zone, based on the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact.   While the early years brought deprivation, the real onslaught for Jenny and her family came in

Mason, Michael

Michael Mason was born September 14, 1928, in Czechoslovakia; he grew up in Hungary, with the name Miklos Friedman, in a family that he described as occasionally observant. His memories of his early life are typical of the time: he and his friends explored the countryside, went to school, and occasionally got in trouble. Michael’s

Friedman, Reny

Reny Friedman is a child survivor from the Netherlands.  She and her twin brother were born in 1937, just as prewar tensions were building up.  Reny’s mother was from germany, and sensing what was to come, she looked for ways to protect her family.  The family managed to secure the help of the underground, going

Kon, Freda

Freda (Franka) Kon is from Lodz, Poland. Freda and her family had been a nice, normal life  when the tragedy of the Holocaust descended upon them.  They were put into the Lodz Ghetto, where they would stay for the next four year, condemned to slave labour and starvation.  But as a young woman, in a

Hilf, Magda

Magda Hilf was born in Maly Kevesd, Czechoslovakia, in 1921. Her early years consist of many fond memories, with family and friends and books, all in a rural setting.  After 1938’s Munich Accord, the situation changed:  when the Hungarians took over her region, the restrictions began.  Her father lost his business, and he and so

Schwemer, Fela

Fela Schwemer is a Holocaust Survivor from Poland.  Fela lost most of her family during the war, as she made her way through a series of camps, where she was used as a slave labourer.  Fela is a powerful storyteller, and her memory for the little details – the bobby pin that she desperately wanted

Jacobs, David

Mr. David Jacobs was born in Tomaszów, Poland. He grew up within the small town, and soon joined his father in working at their family tailoring shop. At age 18, when the war broke out, Mr. Jacobs was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he served as a slave labourer. Mr. Jacobs traveled across Europe

Meisels, Leslie

Leslie Meisels was born in Nádudvar, Hungary in 1927. He lived with his parents, two brothers, and both sets of grandparents. He survived the ghetto in Debrecen, slave labour and eventual deportation to Bergen-Belsen. He was liberated in April 1945 by the US Army. His mother, father and both brothers also survived. Leslie immigrated to

Weksberg, Lenka

Lenka Weksberg was born in Tacovo, Czechoslovakia, in 1926. In 1944, the entire family was deported to the Mathesalka Ghetto in Hungary and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where her mother and brother were murdered. Lenka survived a slave labour camp in Geislingen, and Alach, as well as a death march. Lenka was liberated by the US

Gancman, Henry

Before the war, Henry Gancman was living a comfortable life in a middle class Polish family.  He had two sisters and a brother, was learning to be a carpenter, and he enjoyed playing soccer.  All that came  to a quick end after Sept. 1939 – like so many Polish Jews, Henry dealt with the restrictions

CBC News visits Crestwood

On Tuesday, February 12th, a television crew from CBC News visited Crestwood Preparatory College to film Howard and Nancy Kleinburg speak to students as part of the Oral History Project. Howard was born in Poland, in 1926 and was the youngest brother of ten.— in 1941 his entire family had to pack up their things

Cohen, Judy

Judy Cohen is a Holocaust survivor from Hungary.  She was born on September 17th, 1928 in the city of Debrecen.  Judy was the youngest in a family of 7 children.  Her early life was a good one, full of promise and possibility, until she and her family were caught up in the terrible events unfolding

Friedman, Arnold

Arnold Friedman was born in the Carpathian region of the Ukraine. When the prewar border adjustment known as the Anschluss occurred, he and his family suddenly found themselves living in Hungary. As such, they were offered a temporary respite from the Holocaust. While Polish and Ukrainian Jews were confronted by the Nazi onslaught in 1939-40,

Zimmerman, Rose

Rose Zimmerman comes from Poland, where she and her family were living a normal life before 1939. The advent of the war saw all of that turned upside down; she and her family experienced the full weight of the Shoah, and Rose herself ended up a slave labourer in Auschwitz, before ending the war in

Rybowski, David

David Rybowski is a survivor from Lodz, Poland. He experienced the full weight of the Holocaust, living in the ghetto before being deported to a series of camps and subjected to slave labour before surviving death marches at the war’s end. He spoke to Crestwood students Gabi Sandler, Sam Wasserman, So Hee Pyo, and Dov

Meister, Ernie

Ernie Meister was separated fom his family and sent to a work camp for the majority of World War Two, first in Transylvania and later in the Ukraine. He was forced into slave labour, digging ditches and other defenses for the German military. In late 1944 he escaped the camp and made his way back

Lysy, Judy

Judy Lysy came to Crestwood with her husband George. Both are Hungarian Survivors of the Shoah, and they shared their stories with Chase Farbstein, Kyle Seigel, and Zack Martin in a dual interview. Judy grew up in wartime Hungary, and when many Jewish men were taken to the Russian front, she and other women fended

Kurtz, Irene

Irene Kurtz was born February 2, 1928 in Warsaw, Poland.  She grew up with lots of extended family, and was living a happy life, going to school and celebrating shabbat.  The coming of war in 1939 would shatter that life; it began with restrictions and shortages, and it quickly escalated as the Nazis and their

Kuritski, Ella

Ella Kuritski is from Lithuania. After the German invasion in 1941, her father was taken and murdered by the Nazis, and she and her family were relocated to the Kovno ghetto. She was fortunate to survive the deportations and ultimate liquidation of the ghetto and was sent instead to a work camp, where she forced