Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is extremely saddened by the news today of the passing of Toronto resident Max Eisen z"l, a Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to Holocaust education and inspiring people of all ages to be upstanders against hate.
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, Max endured unspeakable tragedy and adversity at a young age. He was a teenager when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz, where he lost most of his family, including his mother, father and siblings. He fought for his life for over a year in horrific conditions in multiple camps and on a death march that lasted for days before being liberated in May 1945.
After moving to Canada in 1949, he would eventually devote much of his life to sharing his poignant story of tragedy, loss, courage and hope with hundreds of thousands of Canadians, including through his extensive work with FSWC.
Max was a deeply thoughtful man who reflected on his unlikely survival against all odds during the Holocaust, using his difficult experience to teach younger generations about the dangers of hate and intolerance. He taught people of all ages about the power of words, explaining the Holocaust did not begin with violence and murder, but with Nazi lies and myths. He felt strongly about the importance of sharing his message with young people, and he kept every letter written to him by students, which further motivated him to keep sharing his excruciating personal story. Those letters, again, showed how words matter.
In the last decade, Max expanded his work to include law enforcement personnel in Canada. He travelled across the country speaking to police forces in local stations as well as at larger headquarters like the OPP and RCMP.
Max will forever be lovingly remembered by all of us at FSWC as a man who exuded strength, resilience and exemplary values and who inspired us all to continue the critical work of educating and empowering others to make a positive difference in the world. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Ivy, his children Ed and Larry, and all of his loved ones.
May his memory forever be a blessing.
“Without history, there is no memory. Without memory, there is no future.” - Max Eisen
A funeral for Max will be held on Friday, July 8 at 12 PM at Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel. For more information, click here.