Baranek, Martin

Martin Baranek  was born in 1930 in Starachowice, Poland.  His was a small family, just him, his mother, his father, and his younger brother.  Martin was 9 when the war started in 1939.  During those years, he was often bullied at school for being a Jew.  As the reach of the Nazis grew deeper, he and his family were put into the Starachowice Ghetto in 1941.  Sensing the danger, his grandmother told him to go with the group being sent to the factories, and he started working in the woodworking factory.  After about 17 months of working in the factory, he and his fellow workers were eventually loaded onto cattle cars and sent off to the camps, where he stayed until the winter of 1944-5.  He was then sent on a death march but was fortunate to be liberated from Gunskirchen camp in 1945 by the American army.  After the war he immigrated to Canada  in 1949.  At first, he got a job working in a factory while taking night school to learn English.  During this time he was working in the factory he met his wife Betty.

Martin was interviewed for this project by Crestwood student Adam Tytel, who knew Martin from the March of the Living.  Martin returned to Crestwood in January 2017, when he shared his story with Ms. Winograd’s class, and did a second interview with Charlie Zhao, Jess Levitt and Max Dolman.