Baranek, Martin

Martin Baranek  was born August 15, 1930 in Starachowice, Poland.  His was a small family, just him, his mother, his father, and his younger brother.  In his early years, he was often bullied at school for being a Jew:  anti-Semitism was a fact of life in Poland.  Martin was 9 when the war started; as the reach of the Nazis grew deeper, he and his family were put into the Starachowice Ghetto in 1941.  Sensing the danger, his grandmother told him to go with a group being sent to the factories, and he started working in the woodworking factory.  After about 17 months there, he and his fellow workers were forced on to cattle cars and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he stayed until the winter of 1944-5.  He was then sent on a death march but was fortunate to be liberated from the Gunskirchen camp by the American army in the spring of 1945.  After the war, Martin spent time in Italy, from where he made his way to Israel, and then he emigrated to Canada  in 1949.  At first, he got a job working in a factory while taking night school to learn English, and it was during this time that he met his wife Betty, with whom he made a new life in Canada.  Martin was interviewed for this project by Crestwood student Adam Tytel, who knew Martin from the March of the Living.  Martin returned to Crestwood in January 2017, when he shared his story with Ms. Winograd’s class, and did a second interview with Charlie Zhao, Jess Levitt and Max Dolman.