“I guess my survival kicked in. The will to live. I looked at him and aid three words. Let me go.”
Aged 85, holocaust survivor Celina Biniaz has a harrowing and moving story. She owes her life to the kindness of Oscar Schindler, a business man who smuggled a number of Jewish people out of reach of the Nazis at great risk to himself. Herself and her family, while working in Schindler’s factory, were accidentally sent to Auschwitz by some unfortunate mistake. They were in the camp, under a reign of terror, for two months before they were rescued by Schindler, just before they would have been killed.
Teenage Celina and her family took two weeks to walk to their home in Krakow, Poland, where they were received with hostility and racism. However, Celina realised that she was six years behind in her education, although she could already read. This is because the German women who were in charge of the burning of books ordered by the nazis risked their own lives by smuggling books for the women to read.
Incredibly, Celina worked hard to get into high school, and managed to cram six years of missed education into a single summer, and was only one of two Jewish girls to be enrolled into the school. A few difficult years later, after a lot of moving around, Celina and her family came to live in America.
She went on to graduate college, and be accepted into the school of social work. She spent her career as a teacher to children with special educational needs, which she found very fulfilling and enjoyable.
Though Celina Biniaz had lost years worth of education through trauma, displacement and war, she did not allow it to rob her of her future. She found hope and purpose despite her pain.
No matter what you have experienced, or how you have been treated in the past, you have the resources to create your own future.
Watch Celina tell her story in her own words in this moving video: