On Jan. 29, Manhasset High School’s International Club welcomed Holocaust survivor Alexander Konstantyn to speak to students about his experiences in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The turnout was tremendous as the school auditorium was packed.
Mr. Konstantyn was born an only child on Sept. 1, 1937, in Varenz, Poland, to Baruch and Hannah Konstantyn. In the summer of 1941, his family left this small, Jewish village to avoid being captured. They passed as Polish refugees who were fleeing the warzone and for months, they slept outdoors. Alexander’s father was poisoned by a man who offered them refuge in a bunker once he learned he was Jewish. Alexander and his mother were imprisoned, but they managed to escape and found shelter for 20 months with a farmer who had had business relations with Alexander’s father. They were liberated in late 1944 by the Russian army.
Hannah remarried after the war, and at the insistence of Alexander’s stepfather, they left for Israel in 1950 to join his family members. Alexander completed high school and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two and a half years. In 1962, he moved to the United States to join his family and graduated from Pace University and Jewish Theological Seminary, where he received his B.A. and a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters from these respective institutions. Alexander served as the Educational Director of the East Meadow Jewish Center Religious School for 26 years. Today, he lives with his wife Susan and has two children and eight grandchildren. Alexander lectures extensively at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove, Long Island, and Israel.
–Authored by Sophia Hill, International Club President