I was born in Lodz, Poland on December 3rd, 1927 into a rather large orthodox Jewish family. My parents ; Abraham and Sarah Lenga, were living a more modern orthodox lifestyle than my grandparents. I had a 4 years younger brother Nathan. Our first language we’re exposed to and learned was Yiddish. It became my and my brother’s “Mamma- Loshen“,
We had a wonderful childhood. My father was a businessman and owner of a large Tannery, in the small town of Strykow, ( 18 km. south of Lodz. ) By the time I was 4 years old, I had to learn to speak Polish, and so I became bi-lingual. Throughout my 5 years of public education, I was an “ A “ student. Because I had a great thirst for learning, I loved going to school. My parents also sent me to “ Cheder “, Jewish religious school, where I got my Jewish education. My brother Nathan and I, grew up in a very loving and caring family. My mother and dad adored us, but raised us with a firm hand, yet a tender, loving heart. They imbued us with life-values so strong, that they became our guiding compass later on in life. I was always an outgoing boy, and surrounded myself with many close friends. My loving parents took us every year on summer vacations in the countryside, where we frolicked, climbing fruit trees and enjoying the fresh fruits, etc. All this wonderful life came to an abrupt end, on September 1st, 1939. I was then only 11 years old, when Hitler’s army brutally overran and invaded Poland. My life then entered a Nightmare. What followed, in short, was persecution, brutality towards the Jewish people, separation of families, incarceration in Ghettos, deportations to slave labor camps, and exterminations in camps like Auschwitz, Dachau, and Kaufering. I went through 6 years of living Hell of war. I survived by the skin of my teeth, and by sheer luck. I lost my entire family which, including my extended family, numbered close to 100 people! I was so fortunate to find out later, after liberation, that my dear Dad also survived. Only two survivors out of 100. I was liberated by the American Army on May 5th, 1945. I was only 17 years old.
What does Auschwitz mean to you?
A Hellish nightmare created by Hitler and his executioners to eradicate the Jewish people of Europe!
My message for future generations is…
Indifference and Apathy in the face of Evil, are the enablers of Evil to raise its nefarious head!
Who will be accompanying you on this journey?
My daughter/companion, Mrs. Bert Kaplowitz.
My daughter is very aware and keenly attuned to all issues regarding the Holocaust.