Chabad at Union is hosting Holocaust survivor Marcel Zielinski to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass.
This night marks the Nazi terror that began the Holocaust.
Retired Montreal engineer and cycling enthusiast, Marcel Zielinski, was born in Krakow, Poland in Sept. 1934. Nazi Germany invaded Poland around the time of his fifth birthday. His family was forced to live in the overcrowded Krakow Ghetto, until its 1942 liquidation, when the family was interned in the nearby Plaszow concentration camp, which was depicted in "Schindler's List."
When Plaszow was liquidated in the summer of 1944, he and his father were separated from the family and sent on to Birkenau, part of the Auschwitz death camp complex, where they were tattooed. Days before the Red Army liberated Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945, his father was sent on a forced march to Germany. Zielinski never saw him again nor was he able to find out how he died.
Zielinski, who is an avid cyclist, rode across Canada in 1998 at the age of 63. At the end of June, he will be returning to Poland for The Ride of the Living, a 90 km fundraising bike ride from the gates of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp to Krakow, a route that Zielinski walked at age 11 after the camp was liberated.
Marcel frequently shares his story of hope and survival in the face of hatred and merciless evil. He says, “if we aren’t going to repeat it, we have to remember it. It is so important to educate and bear witness to a new generation.”