Holocaust survivor Jack Aizenberg, one of first orphans to arrive to the UK, dies at 96

Polish-British Holocaust survivor Jack Aizenberg has passed away, aged 96.

Jack was himself among 600 people forced on a 100-mile death march as American troops advanced into Germany in the closing days of the war. Jack was also one of the one in 10 who survived. But he was left with no home and no family.

Holocaust Educational Trust chief executive Karen Pollock said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Aizenberg. Born in Staszow in Poland, Jack was a survivor of multiple labour camps, Buchenwald and Terezin concentration camps,. He came to the UK as one of the Boys, brought to Windermere for treatment and recuperation. He was a beloved member of the survivor community and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

He returned to the camps where he nearly died 10 years ago – and the riverbank where he last saw his family alive in November, 1942, as Jews were force-marched to the death camps.

By the time the Germans surrendered, he was near death. “I think another day and I would have been dead,” he said. “I was dying, but didn’t care.”

The British Government agreed 1,000 orphaned children under 16 could enter the country. Jack was among the first 300, flown to Windermere in Cumbria to recuperate for six months.

“I had to lie about my age,” he said. “I was 19 but we had no papers. When I got on the fear and the hunger was gone.

“When we arrived in Britain it was like arriving in paradise.”

With just £30, Jack went on to create a successful luggage business with two other Holocaust survivors in Manchester. He was married to Rhona– the couple have two children

He said: “Being a survivor has taught me ­something. I have got more patience, more tolerance, more understanding of suffering and I really hate mistreatment of human beings.

May his memory be a blessing.

related

Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community