Auckland loses one of its finest

November 27, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Fred Silberstein spent most of his life in Auckland educating the general community about the Holocaust. He died this week,

Silberstein, who was 80,  was only 14 when he arrived at Auschwitz in 1943. He told the camp’s entry clerk that he was 15, making himself available for the work-force and escaping the certain death facing children.

Surviving the war, including having been operated on without anaesthetic as a victim of Mengele’s surgical experiments, Silberstein gave evidence at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 at the age of 17.

From the time he arrived in New Zealand in 1948, he took on the task of disseminating information on the Holocaust to the broader Auckland community, focusing on schools.

Stephen Goodman, President of the Auckland Jewish Council, told J-Wire: “He was always the first to step to the base following anti-semitic attacks, believing that most cases had ignorance as their basis. Fred would convert the ignorance to knowledge. His is a great loss to our community. He was a very humble and sincere person,”

Silberstein is survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren.

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