Aaron Nussbaum

From Tribute to Holocaust Survivors Program Book 2019

Aaron Nussbaum was born to Avraham and Regina (née Landau) on December 10, 1931 in Sandomierz, Poland, a community with four hundred Jewish families. His close family consisted of about twenty-four members; only six survived the Holocaust. Aaron and his family were modern Orthodox Jews. Avraham, Aaron’s father, owned a store that sold electrical equipment, appliances, and bicycles In April 1940, Avraham was arrested, taken first to Buchenwald and then to Ravensbrück concentration camps. In June 1942, the family learned that he had died.

In September, 1942, Aaron and his family went into hiding in Warsaw, in an apartment with a Polish family they hid behind a fake wall. In June 1943, no longer able to stay, they registered at the Hotel Polski in Warsaw, where the Germans said they would exchange Jews for German citizens who were detained in foreign countries. They obtained false papers for immigration to Palestine but when the Hotel was raided, everyone was loaded onto trucks for relocation.

Aaron’s mother wanted them to get on the truck with the chairman of the Judenrat (Jewish council) however Aaron pulled his mother and brother off that truck and boarded the other truck. Those on the first truck were immediately executed. Aaron’s family was taken to Bergen- Belsen concentration camp where they remained from July 1943 until April 1945. When the British arrived on the outskirts of Bergen-Belsen in April 1945, the Germans put them on trains to be murdered.  Just before the trains could be unloaded outside of Hillersleben, they were liberated by American forces on April 12, 1945.

Aaron was sent to Palestine, where he lived in the Atlit detainee camp, attended school in Gan Shmuel, and joined Gadna, the youth division of the Haganah.  When the Israeli War of Independence broke out, Aaron served in the Palmach until the end of 1949. After his discharge, along with others, he founded Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in the Negev where he lived and worked until 1952. Aaron then came to Canada through Pier 21 to visit his family in Toronto who had survived the Holocaust and he stayed.

After working in a clothing factory, he worked in construction and saved enough money to open a hardware store. Aaron built a storefront and apartments above his successful hardware and building supply business that continued for over 50 years. He was also involved in building sub-divisions in Thornhill and commercial buildings and factories in the GTA.

Aaron and Bella (née Goldman) were married on June 1, 1958. They have two children, Allan and Gayle and six grandchildren, Elanna, Jordan, Nicole, Noah, Samara and Joshua. Bella passed away on October 25, 2011. Aaron regularly returns to Israel. In 2016, Aaron travelled to Poland with his family to visit his hometown of Sandomierz and Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak in Israel.