"Hearing one person tell their story gave a completely different perspective to what happened, as it wasn't about statistics or about a nation as a whole, but one person who lost his family and home." ~O. Avery (student)
You can download and easily print Michael's biography here (pdf)
Michael Herskovitz was born in Botfalva, Czechoslovakia in 1929. In March 1944 the Germans invaded his small town. Within weeks, his father lost his grocery store. Forced to wear yellow Jewish stars on their clothing, Michael, his parents, and four siblings were transported to a ghetto.
In April 1944, the Nazis placed fifteen year old Michael and his family on cattle cars. They were not told where they were going. Then they arrived at Auschwitz. Michael’s family, along with other families, was selected for either immediate death or for the labor camp. “All you could hear were soldiers hollering, dogs barking, gunshots, and people screaming and crying.”
In late 1944, Russian troops advanced on Poland. After six months in Auschwitz, Michael was transferred to Mauthausen and Gunskirchen, work camps in Austria.
One day in May 1945 Michael awoke to gunshots and shouting. The German guards had disappeared and within a few hours the British liberated him. Michael contracted typhoid fever and was sent to a hospital to recuperate.
Michael moved to Israel where he lived, worked, and fought for the Israeli Army. Michael then married and moved to America in 1959 where he now resides.
He has written two books about his experiences and survival: Early One Saturday Morning and Our Cherry Tree Still Stands.