Alex Buckman

Never a Child

One could say that Alex Buckman never had a childhood, moving from the age of two from home to home while living in fear of imminent death.

Born in 1939, in Brussels, Belgium, Alex Buckman was only a baby when the Germans invaded Belgium. Alex’s father, in a desperate bid to save his young son, paid a Catholic family to shield Alex before he and his wife were transported to Auschwitz. Over the next two years, Alex was moved from one home to another, as each family, in turn, turned the boy away for fear of reprisal.

At the age of four, Alex was placed in a Catholic orphanage. Alex lived in fear for the next two and a half years, remembering the cellar he cowered in when the Nazis searched the orphanage for Jews. Alex heard guttural shouts in German and the loud stomps of the Nazi boots overhead as he crouched in the dark, cold, and lonely cellar.

When the war ended, Alex watched as other parents came to reclaim their children. Not Alex, whose parents perished in Auschwitz. For six months, Alex languished. Then the Red Cross came, brought Alex to Brussels, and posted his name, along with other orphaned children, on poles throughout the city. Fortunately, Alex’s uncle, Herman Teitelbaum, found Alex’s name there.

He and his wife, Rebecca, raised Alex as their son. Some years later, Alex, by then in Montreal, married Collette Roy in 1962, and moved soon afterward to Vancouver, where he has had a successful career in the banking industry.

Alex has become a compelling speaker and educator in Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and Calgary. He is also a strong advocate for child survivors, serving as president of the Child Survivor Group at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Center for the last decade and as Treasurer of the World Federation of Jewish Child Holocaust Survivors.

Alex is the proud father of one and takes great joy in spending time with his three grandchildren.