Survivors' Stories

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Elie Wiesel

Alexander Spilberg

  • From: Transylvania
  • Liberated from: Austria (Gunskirchen- On a Death March)
  • Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from: Romania/Hungary (Kolozsvar)
  • Current Location: Canada
  • Year of birth: 1930

Brief Bio

I was born in Transylvania, the oldest of 5 children. My family was orthodox but very poor.  My father was obsessed with our Jewish education but in school the Jewish teachers were very cruel to me. Life was not too bad until 1941 when the Hungarians took over. It started with some restrictions and gradually we could not go to school and businesses had restrictions.

Late in 1942 my father was taken away to a forced labour camp and life got very difficult for us.  There were many nights I went to bed without food.

In the spring of 1944 the Jews were gathered together taken to Kolozsvar. After about 4 weeks we were put on cattle train cars packed in like sardines.  We travelled for 4 or 5 days with no food or water.

The doors finally opened and there was shouting, “leave everything and line up.” The German SS pointed right or left.  I went with younger and stronger people. That was the last time I saw my mother, brothers and grandparents.

Once we got into the barracks, older inmates told us “This is an extermination camp!”I was there until the winter of 1945 where I witnessed extreme cruelty and murder.

In the early winter of 1944/45 we heard cannons and saw lights; we thought we would be liberated only to be marched in the bitter cold to Laslow and then we were put on a train to Mauthausen. I was there for 2 months and then we were sent on a death march for 5 or 6 days to Gunskirchen where we were finally liberated on May 4, 1945. 

My family perished in the holocaust.  I am the lone survivor.

After the war I went back home but nothing was left.  I wanted to go to America but I was missing some papers so I went to Canada. There I met my first wife Sara and we had 4 daughters.  I was widowed and married my second wife Miriam. She had 3 children and together we are blessed with 16 grandchildren.

What does Auschwitz mean to you? 

Auschwitz was the worst nightmare.  If there was a hell, it was Auschwitz.

My message for future generations is …

My hope is that future generations won’t have to experience anything like this.  Most important, be vigilant, speak out, take action, unite. Never again.

Who is accompanying you on this journey?

I am accompanied by my daughter Lisa.  She always took a special interest in my history and feels very strongly that my story must be told.