The programme will feature a keynote address by Alex Eisen, a Holocaust survivor now living in Toronto. He was born in Vienna, Austria in 1929 and at nine years of age watched the Nazis marched into Vienna. Soon after Eisen, his parents and two sisters escaped to Hungary. His father was arrested at the border but managed to flee from there to Palestine.
When Hungary came under Nazi occupation in 1944 his older sister was deported to Auschwitz. Eisen, his mother and younger sister remained in the Budapest ghetto until they were able to escape, and posing as Christians, managed to survive until liberation in January 1945. Following liberation Eisen was determined to join his father in Palestine and in 1947 boarded an illegal ship, the Theodore Herzl, carrying refuges to Palestine. The ship was seized by the British and the refugees were sent to a detention camp in Cyprus. There,
Eisen was reunited with his mother and sisters who were also waiting to be allowed entry to Palestine. Once he reached Palestine in the fall of 1947, he joined the Israeli underground (Haganah) and later the Israeli army fighting in the battle of Jerusalem. He was transferred to the Israeli Air Force where he met his wife, Renata Markovic, also a Holocaust survivor. They married in 1951 and immigrated to Canada the following year. They have two children and five grandchildren, all of whom live in Toronto. At age 75 Eisen became involved in Holocaust education and he has recently written his memoirs.
The annual Beatrice Cummings Mayer Prizes will be presented to high school students who participated in the Jewish Holocaust Study Group, jointly organized by the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum and the District 8 Enrichment Centre.. The students’ work will be available for viewing in the Museum before and after the program.
Candles will be lit in memory of those who were killed during the Holocaust.
A reception will follow the presentation.
This program is made possible with financial assistance from The Atlantic Jewish Council through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany Inc., Congregation Shaarei Zedek, the Harry and Mary Selick Cohen Memorial Fund (Saint John Jewish Historical Museum) and the Community Arts Funding Program of the City of Saint John.
For further information please contact the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum at 633-1833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.