Henry Melnick z”l
“Sixty years ago, if someone told me that this is how my life would turn out, I would never have believed it. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my family and reflect about the horrors I witnessed throughout the Holocaust. All I can ask, now that my story has been shared, is to never forget.”
Henry Melnick was born Henry Chmielnicki in 1922 in Lodz, Poland, to Chaya and Elijah Chmielnicki. He had two siblings, aunts, uncles and many cousins. Melnick was only 17 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. After being moved to the Nowy Sacz ghetto with his family, he survived Auschwitz- birkenau, Buna, Dora-Mittelbau, Bergen-Belsen and other ghettos and concentration camps. His parents were murdered in the Belzec death camp and he was the sole survivor of his family. He attributed his survival to his mother who he says, “pushed me forward with her hand during a selection, avoiding the line to the death camps.” In 1947, he tried to go to Palestine but was turned back at the Belgian border. In 1948, melnick volunteered to fight in Israel’s War of Independence. He came to Canada in 1965 with his wife, Hela, and their two children. At the time of the release of his memoir “By My Mother’s Hand” in 2011, Melnick had two children, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.