Israel Laszlo Lazar
Born in 1930 / Romania
"I lost my whole family during the war. My parents, my grandparents, my brother, my aunts, my uncles. Twenty-nine of us left for Auschwitz. Only three of us returned."
Laszlo Lazar was born in 1930 in Oradea Mare. Approximately 750,000 Jews lived in Romania before World War II.
Although the country was a part of pro-German alliance, mass deportations to concentration camps were gradually stopped here after 1942. However, the Lazar family lived in Transylvania, which became a part of Hungary in 1940. The main reason for the mass liquidation of the Jews later was the occupation of the area by Germany in 1944. In the same year, Lazar's family was deported to the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
After four days in Buchenwald on June 26, 1944 Laszlo was deported to the Rehmsdorf camp, where he worked hard in a lignite factory. He survived three bombings by Allied troops and then was returned to Buchenwald. On February 6, 1945 he found himself in the Little Camp, in Block 59. As part of the rescue operation of Antonín Kalina and his co-workers, he was then transferred to the Children's Block 66. ”There were no mattresses in the block. It was cold and we were wearing summer clothes. One blanket for five people. People were dying there, slowly. That was the Little Camp.” After the liberation of Buchenwald, 15-year-old Lazslo returned to Oradey. Here he discovered that only a fraction of his family, which had originally 30 members, survived the Holocaust. "I lost my whole family during the war. My parents, my grandparents, my brother, my aunts, my uncles. Twenty-nine of us left for Auschwitz. Only three of us returned."
In 1946-51 he worked in garages and in an engineering factory. Like many other lonely young Jews, he began to consider emigrating to Israel. This happened on January 21, 1951. He took the name Israel in the new country.
In 1952 he joined the Israeli army as a mechanic, serving in the same position until 1983. He retired from the army and then worked until his retirement in 1995 as a mechanic for several different companies.
In 1988 Israel began working on his autobiography, which he saw as a way to commemorate members of his family who perished during the Holocaust.
From 2005 to 2007 he made a documentary about his life. He has lectured on the Holocaust in schools, museums and libraries. Together with Alex Moskovic, Pavel Kohn and Naftali Fürst, he collaborated on the documentary Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald by Steven Moskovic. In this film, he paid a tribute to his rescuer Antonín Kalina and participated in the effort to award him the title of Righteous Among the Nations through the Yad Vashem Memorial.
Israel Laszlo Lazar lives in Kiryat Mot zkin in Israel.