1929 - 2018

Martin Aaron


Martin was born in the Czechoslovakian village of Tereshva in 1927, but home was across the Tisa River in Sapinta, Romania, a town with about 100 Jewish families. In 1940, Romania was forced to cede northern Transylvania to Hungary, and conditions for the Jews deteriorated rapidly:  public school was forbidden, businesses confiscated, travel restricted, and, ultimately, forced labor.

Martin was 15 in 1944 when the Jews were taken by wagon to Tyachev. This was a ghetto in every sense of the word. After several weeks, Martin’s family was put on a train for two days and nights, arriving at Auschwitz II (Birkenau). This was the last time Martin and his older brother, Moshe, would ever see his parents, two sisters, and two younger brothers again.

The boys were settled into deplorable barracks, when guards came looking for prisoners with skills. Anxious to get out, Martin and Moshe called themselves mechanics, and after a week, were transferred to a labor camp in Bunzlau, Germany. It was here that Martin was given the number 46006 as his identity. The boys worked mixing cement to build foundations for factory walls. Had he remained at Bunzlau, Martin would have been freed by the Soviets in a few days. Instead, Martin was marched for five or six weeks through Germany to Gurlitz, Leipsig, then Nordhausen. Of the 100 men who began the journey, fewer than 25 survived. Moshe stayed at Bunzlau and was liberated from there, eventually immigrating to Israel, but died shortly thereafter, succumbing to the ravages of his concentration camp hardships.

Skeletally thin and so weak that he could hardly stand, Martin was put on a train to Bergen-Belsen. Several days later, on April 15, 1945, the British liberated the camp. Martin is certain that he would not have survived another day. He was taken by medical truck to Celle for recuperation and then brought back to Bergen-Belsen, which had been organized into a Displaced Persons (DP) Camp.

An aunt and uncle in New York saw a notice in the Jewish paper about Martin’s search for relatives; they sponsored his immigration. On March 3, 1948, Martin arrived in New York City. He was drafted by the U. S. Army during the Korean conflict and after discharge, settled in Birmingham, married Sylvia Gerber, and had one son. Sylvia died suddenly in 1967. In 1974, Martin met and married Shirley Beck Zalla, also widowed with one son. Together they became a family. Martin worked at Berman Brothers Iron and Metal Company for 35 years.

Darkness Into Life

Claritas est etiam processus dynamicus, qui sequitur mutationem consuetudium lectorum. Mirum est notare quam littera gothica, quam nunc putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum.

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More Information

Name in US
Martin Aaron
Name at Birth
Hirsh Maier Aron
Yiddish Name
Hirsh Maier Aron
Married Name
Martin Aaron
Parents' Name

Leah Cig and Mendl Baer Aron

Date of Birth
April 21, 1929
Date of Birth - Note
Martin claimed he was born in 1927, but that all of his papers show 1929 due to a modification of his birthday in DP Camp Herzog
Country of Birth
City of Birth
City of Birth, Alternate Names

Săpînţa [Rom], Szaploncza [Hun], Spinka ספינקא [Yid], Sapunka [Slov], Szaplonca, Săpânta

Sibling(s) Name(s)

Bailah Aron

Moshe Shmuel Aron
(1916-2004 Israel)

Rochel Ecca Aron
(? – 1944)

Pinchas Aron
(? – 1944)

Dovid Baruch Aron

Spouse(s) Name(s)

Sylvia Gerber
(August 3, 1921 – May 11, 1967)
Lt. Isadore Gepner (1920-2002), Married 1941-1950
– Child: Patricia Joyce Gepner
Martin Aaron, Married January 1953
– Child: Marvin Barry Aaron

Shirley A. Beck
(March 1942-    )
Alvin B. Zalla (1931-1970), Married 1953-1970
– Child: David Harold Zalla (Aaron)
Martin Aaron, Married June 9, 1974, Birmingham

Children's Names

Patricia Joyce Gepner Aaron (Israel Pancer)
Born 1944

Marvin Barry Aaron (Jennifer Schenker)
Born 1965

David Harold Zalla Aaron
Born 1966

Religious Identity (Prewar)
Orthodox Jewish
Religious Identity (Postwar)
Orthodox Jewish
Ghetto(s) / Year(s)


Alternate names: Tiacheva, Tesco (Yiddish), Tachovo, Tetsh (German), Tech (Hungarian), Tacovo (Czech), Tachovo, Tiaczovo (Polish), Tiachevo (Russian) and Tiachev (Ukraine)

Camp(s) / Year(s)

Auschwitz II – Birkenau
(May 29, 1944 – Early June 1944)

Bunzlau / Sub-camp of Gross-Rosen
(Early June 1944 – circa March 1944)

(circa March 1944 – circa April 8-11, 1945)

(circa April 8-11, 1945 – April 15, 1945)

Forced (Death) Marches

Bunzlau (February 11, 1945) to Görlitz to Leipzig to Nordhausen (March 15, 1945) to Bergen-Belsen

Liberated By / Date
British / April 15, 1945
Location of Liberation

Bergen-Belsen / Germany

DP Camp(s) / Year(s)

Bergen-Belsen (British Zone)

Camp Herzog, Hessisch-Lichtenau, near Kassel, Germany (US Zone)

Other Experiences

Served in the US Army / Camp McClellan, Anniston, AL
(December 1950-December 1952)

Year / City / Ship to US
March 3, 1948 / New York, New York / SS Marine Flasher
Date Moved to Alabama
Alabama City of Residence
Anniston, MaBirmingham
Date of Death
October 20, 2018
City of Death
City of Burial / Cemetery
Birmingham / Elmwood Cemetery
Dates Lived in Alabama