Simon Saks

Connected to Izzy CUNDARI, Class of 2021

Name: Simon Saks
Birth: 1/22/1932
Birthplace: Będzin, Poland
Death: 4/9/2018

Connected to: Izzy CUNDARI, Class of 2021
Connection: Great-Uncle

The Germans occupied Będzin in September of 1932, when Simon was only seven years old, just after he finished Grade 1, which was his only year of school.

Simon lived in the Będzin ghetto for three and a half years. In this ghetto, he risked his life to retrieve things for his family, such as groceries, in exchange for fur coats his uncle (a furrier) made. He did this by taking off his yellow star patch until he learned that if a Jew were to be caught not wearing their Jewish Star, they would be shot on the spot.

In late 1942, Simon was relocated to a new ghetto called Kamionka, where he lived for six months. During this time, he was separated from his mother. He was then sent to work with those who had to sort clothing at the Polish army base, until he was sent to Blechhammer, a subcamp of Auschwitz.

Following that, Simon was taken to a camp called Gross-Rosen and then five days later, put on a train to Buchenwald concentration camp. After five months at this camp, Simon tried to escape with his uncle, who got away; unfortunately, Simon did not.

He was taken on a train with other Jews who attempted to escape but were unsuccessful like himself. He was in a cattle car with 120 other people and was given minimal food, so they ate grass from the sides of the train tracks.

After four weeks on the train, they were taken to Theresienstadt, where Simon got very sick but was nursed back to health by a loving German nurse. From there, he waited for a plane to take him to Britain from a Czech army base in Prague. After spending three years in England, the Jewish Congress arranged for him to come to Canada in June 1948. He arrived in Montreal by boat, and finally, took a train to Toronto, where he lived with his wife Reene Swartz and his family, for the rest of his life.

We Remember Simon


Simon was a loving and truly inspiring man who devoted all his time to his family. Although it was hard, Simon always shared his story with me, along with my extended family, when we got together to celebrate Passover every year. To keep his testimony living, he wrote a book titled “Through the Eyes of a Child,” which remains a significant and very special artefact to my family.