My name is Rabbi Meyer Kizelnik. I am a survivor. You can read more about my life in my upcoming book entitled ‘Saved By An Angel in Auschwitz: The Story of Rabbi Meyer Kizelnik: A Child Survivor’ This book will be published in the spring of 2020.
I was born in Stramtura, Romania. I was deported from Rosalvia to Bragameneresh to Vishva. I was put in a cattle car, and went to Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Auschwitz. At the time of the liberation, I was in Germany next to the Czech border.
Prior to the war, I was just like a regular kid. I went to Cheder (elementary religious school), and public school. I learned math, writing and songs. I had fun with my friends. We played different games, played a primitive form of baseball, and picked berries. We enjoyed our time together.
Religion played a central role in my life. My father was a rabbi and came from generations of rabbis. He was the rabbi of our town, as well as surrounding towns. I was extremely close to my father. I accompanied him to surrounding towns before the holidays, and on other occasions. One of my greatest joys was to sit at the Passover seder with my parents and nine siblings. Then the Holocaust started….
During the Holocaust life was miserable. I did everything I had to survive. I worked in mines (picked up stones with a wheelbarrow), and worked in the kitchen (peeled potatoes). It was a miserable life and I had to work very hard. I had to remain on my feet for long roll calls. These lasted for a very long time. In Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp Buchenwald, every Jew had to be accounted for. Food was scarce. At that time I was young and I simply didn’t know better.
After the liberation, I went from town to town. I didn’t know where to go. I ended up on the top of the trains. Trains were crowded with people trying to flee. At certain places, the trains stopped and the Red Cross gave out meals. People were starving. I ended up in Yeshiva next to the Czech border. I wanted to go back to Vienna. I was arrested in Salzburg, Austria. I had to spend one night in jail. Surprisingly, I liked jail because there was food. Following my release, I went to Vienna. There was a holocaust center there, where survivors met. This was where I met my brother David. Following this, we went to Szomhey, Hungary. David and I got an apartment there for a few months. I then got a passport and emigrated to Canada. It is in Canada where I met my late wife and raised my lovely family. I was a pulpit rabbi for over 50 years. I followed in the footsteps of the generations of rabbis in my family.
What does Auschwitz mean to you?
Auschwitz means hell on earth to me. It is the place where my beloved parents and siblings, amongst a million Jews were killed. It is because of this that
My message to future generations is
to never erase the destruction of 6 million Jews from their hearts and souls. Never again, never forgotten…..