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Jack Eisner

Jack Eisner

Jack P. Eisner immigrated to New York City in 1949 and spent nearly three decades building his Stafford Industries into a $50-million business. In 1978, Eisner sold his Manhattan-based company and started a new life's work -- telling about his traumatic youth. He founded and served as president of the Holocaust Survivors Memorial Foundation, which, among other educational projects, endows chairs at various universities to spread the story of the Holocaust. Two years later, he published his autobiography, The Survivor. The book was turned into a Broadway play by Susan Nanus, and has been performed in Los Angeles at the Hudson Theater and at Wilshire Boulevard Temple as part of the American Jewish Repertory Theater. Eisner also spent several million dollars to fund a motion picture based on his book, with himself as executive producer and Moshe Mizrahi as director. Originally titled "The Children's War," the film was released in 1985 as "War and Love." Across all of these diverse platforms, the story of Eisner's incredible struggle for survival shone through: although just 13 and having acheived a scholarship to the Warsaw Music Conservatory when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, the boy abandoned music began organizing a group of youths to smuggle food and supplies between the Warsaw ghetto and the world outside. Eventually captured by Nazis, young Eisner survived a succession of concentration camps -- Majdanek, Budzyn and Flossenburg -- and was twice he was sentenced to hang, only to have the makeshift gallows collapse both times. Freed by American troops, Eisner stayed on in Europe for a few years after the war, testifying at the Nazi war crimes trials in Nuremberg and helping Americans track down war criminals. In 1962, Eisner established the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization, one of the oldest Holocaust survivors' groups. In 1993, he installed a monument in Warsaw honoring 1.5 million Jewish children killed by Nazis.


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