1931 - 2008

Henry Aizenman


Henry Aizenman. One man with two birthdays: the first, to celebrate his arrival in the world in Warsaw, Poland, in 1931. The second, to celebrate his “rebirth”: the chance to begin life anew after his liberation by American troops in 1945 from Wöbbelin Concentration Camp near Ludwigslust, Germany.

Like other Polish Jews in the early 1930’s, Henry was no stranger to antisemitism in the small town of Przytyk where he was raised. His educated and Zionistic parents had hoped to immigrate to Palestine to help establish a Jewish homeland there, but because British policies mandated that they would have to leave their savings behind, they opted instead to remain in Europe, a decision that would cost them their lives.

The family became victims of the Nazi’s policy of using concentration camp inmates to keep the German war machine humming along.

Henry’s mother died in a munitions factory fire in Pionki, where, following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Jews were rounded up and sent off to perform hard labor. Henry’s father, having survived Auschwitz because of his skills as a mechanic, later died at another work camp at Braunschweig. Prisoners at the camp told Henry that his father, having fallen ill, had been sent to the infirmary, where he had been murdered by the doctor, who injected him with a bubble of air.

Until then, young Henry had managed to endure the terror and starvation of incarceration because of his father’s presence: whether crammed together with other prisoners in the cattle cars that conveyed them from camp to camp … journeys lasting at times for over a week … or using as barter the sliver of pound cake mercifully thrown to Henry by an old woman as he walked to work his twelve-hour night shift, father and son had had each other.

Now orphaned, and following his liberation, Henry sailed to America. He moved to Birmingham in 1958, where he and his wife raised three children.

Somehow Henry managed to put the memories of the atrocities he had witnessed into what he called “little boxes,” keeping them tightly locked until some trigger pried one open. But he maintained that despite the horrors he experienced, he still believed in the basic goodness of humanity.

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.

Online Exhibit

More Information

Name in US
Henry Aizenman
Name at Birth
Chaim (Henryk) Ajzenman
Married Name
Henry Aizenman
Parents' Name

Hanka (Hanna, Hannah) Zajde (Szajte) and Boruch (Baruch) Ajzenman

Date of Birth
March 20, 1931
Country of Birth
City of Birth
Sibling(s) Name(s)


Spouse(s) Name(s)

Barbara Deanne Weiner
Married 1956 in New York
Divorced about 1973

Children's Names

David Burton Aizenman, M.D. (Teri)
Born 1958, Birmingham

Shari Aizenman (Clive Brown)
Born 1960, Birmingham

Mark Jeffrey Aizenman (Sally)
Born 1962, Birmingham

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

Jedlinsk Ghetto (Poland)

Camp(s) / Year(s)

Wsola Air Force Base (German occupied Poland)

Pionki Munitions Factory (Poland)

Auschwitz II (Poland)

Fürstengrube (Poland) / Subcamp of Auschwitz

Braunschweig (Germany) / Subcamp of Neuengamme

Ravensbrück (Germany)

Wöbbelin (Germany) / Subcamp of Neuengamme

Location of Liberation

Ludwigslust, Germany

DP Camp(s) / Year(s)

Zeilsheim, Germany (near Frankfurt/American zone)

Other Experiences

Actually born in Warsaw, but lived most of his life in Przytyk.

At Auschwitz II, Henry was tattooed with the number B-21

Henry’s emigration was part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s program to relocate Jewish war orphans after World War II

Year / City / Ship to US
January 29,1948 / New York City / SS Marine Flasher
Date Moved to Alabama
January 1, 1958
Alabama City of Residence
Date of Death
March 15, 2008
City of Death
City of Burial / Cemetery
Birmingham, AL / Elmwood Cemetery
Dates Lived in Alabama