Law Society awards honourary LLD to Max Eisen, active in Holocaust education for over two decades

Eisen's memoirs, By Chance Alone, describes his life as an Auschwitz death camp survivor

Law Society awards honourary LLD to Max Eisen, active in Holocaust education for over two decades

The Law Society of Ontario, through its treasurer Teresa Donnelly, presented an honourary Doctor of Laws degree to Holocaust survivor Tibor “Max” Eisen during its Nov. 27 Convocation meeting.

The LSO distinguished Eisen, who is also a writer, speaker and educator, for his commitment to sharing his experience and the lessons that he’d learned for the benefit of Canadians of all ages. In 2015 and 2016, Eisen testified in the German trial of two former Auschwitz guards, in which the pair were eventually convicted.

In a Law Society Gazette article, Donnelly said, “[F]or over 20 years bringing Holocaust education to schools, governments, and community leaders, he has demonstrated his commitment to justice and rule of law that serves as a model for us all.”

The LSO annually bestows honourary doctorates to deserving persons who have accomplished remarkable achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice.

Eisen’s memoirs, By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz, describes his life as a death camp survivor. In 1944, Eisen, who belonged to an Orthodox Jewish family based in Czechoslovakia, was deported with his family to Auschwitz-Birkenau, following Hungary’s occupation of Slovakia. Most of his family members were killed right away in the gas chambers.

Eisen worked as a slave labourer alongside his father and uncle, who were both later taken away for experiments, never to be heard from again. Eisen partly attributed his survival to the heroic acts of Dr. Tadeusz Orzeszko, a member of the Polish resistance who, due to a sense of pity, had him work in the surgery.

Eisen took part in the death march to Mauthausen, Melk and Ebensee, then was liberated by the American 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion in May 1945. He initially moved to Quebec City in October 1949, then transferred to Toronto, where he has since resided with his spouse, Ivy Cosman. They have two children, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Eisen has participated 18 times in March of the Living, an annual event held on Holocaust Memorial Day, wherein students from around the globe march silently from Auschwitz to Birkenau. He also has speaking engagements within and beyond Canada to share his experience with students, teachers and the community.

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