Survivors' Stories

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

Esther Keri (Pinkesz)

  • From: Hungary (Budapest)
  • Liberated from: Germany (Bergen Belsen) 
  • Deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from: Hungary (Pestszenterzsebet)
  • Current Location: Canada (Toronto)
  • Year of birth: 1930

Brief Bio

Esther was born in 1930 in Budapest, Hungary. She was the oldest of five children and had a happy childhood. Esther’s life changed forever in 1944 when the Germans invaded Hungary. 

Esther was thirteen when her father was taken to a forced labor camp and killed by the Nazis. In May 1944, Esther, her mother, and siblings were put on cattle cars and deported to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, Esther’s mother and four siblings were sent to stand on the left, ultimately leading to their death. Esther was sent to the right. She would never see them again.  

In the Fall of 1944, Esther was sent to work in a factory in Germany. She was then deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. On April 15, Bergen-Belsen was liberated. Since she was ill with typhus, Esther was hospitalized until September. Upon release, Esther returned to Hungary and reunited with her grandmother, who had survived. She attended college, where she studied to become an administrative assistant. 

In 1956, Esther married her husband George, an engineer. That same year, they immigrated to Canada, had two daughters, and are now blessed with two granddaughters.


What does Auschwitz mean to you?

Murder. To be the witness of mass murder, at the age of 14, of innocent people, young and old, including my own mother, three
of my sisters age 11, 8 and 6, and my 3 year old brother.

My message for future generations is…

Treat others the way you expect to be treated. Be involved in politics and in your community. Let your words to be
heard always.

Who will be accompanying you on this journey?

My two daughters.  It was hard for my two daughters to grow up in the ashes of their family, not having an aunt
or an uncle or the love of their murdered grandparents.

*Does not want to be interviewed by the press.