Irene Kurtz

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“It is very important for the young generations to not be quiet. If you something that’s not right, speak up. Do something about it. Bad things will not just pass, you have to deal with it.”


Irene Kurtz was born in 1928 in Warsaw, Poland. She had two brothers and one sister. At 11 years old, Irene and her family were forced into the Warsaw ghetto, and in 1941, her mother and her sister were taken away, during a selection process. Her two older brothers fled to Russia to join the Russian army and Irene was left alone with her father. In April 1943, during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, her father hid her in a bunker, while he went out to work, and he never returned. Irene escaped from the bunker and was caught by a Nazi officer, who put her on the next transport to Majdanek. After spending two months in Majdanek, barely surviving, Irene was then selected for a transport going to Skarzysko ammunition factory. She worked there until liberation in 1945 by Soviet troops. Post war, Irene went to Palestine and then to Canada. Irene married Jack Kurtz and they have three sons, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.