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

My name is Esther Keri (nee Pinkesz). I was born in Budapest, Hungary on May 27, 1930, and was the oldest of five children – three sisters and one brother. We lived in a suburb of Budapest called Pestszenterzsebet. I had a happy life, until the age of thirteen.

In April, 1944, the Germans occupied Hungary. My father was taken to a labour camp, where he was killed. In late May of that year, me, my mother and my siblings were forced out of our house by the Hungarian Gendarme and taken to a brick factory, where we were put into crowded cattle wagons, and transported to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, the SS doctor sent the old and the sick to the left side, including my mother and my 4 siblings, ranging in age from 3 to 11 years old. I was sent to the right side. My mother and my siblings were killed. 

In the fall of 1944, I was taken to a factory in Germany to work and then, in January 1945, I was taken to Bergen Belsen, from where I was liberated by the British on April 16, 1945. I was very sick from typhus, and hospitalized until September 1945, at which time, I returned to Hungary and found my grandmother. I attended college and was trained as an administrative assistant.

In 1956, I married George Keri, an engineer, and the nicest human being I have ever known. We immigrated to Canada that year, and raised our two daughters together until he died in 1982. Today, both of my daughters are lawyers. I also have 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.