Alice Kominek

Love Conquers All

In spite of hardship and loss, Alice Kominek’s big heart radiates love for her number one priority—her family.

Alice Kohn was 14 years old when the Nazis came in 1944 to round up the Jews in her hometown of Pezinok, Czechoslovakia. Alice, along with her parents, Avraham and Leah, and her younger brother, Arni, hid in a hut belonging to a gentile farmer. However, with the family starving, it became clear that the family would not survive long.

Avraham approached the chief of police for protection, who put them into a cell. The reprieve was short-lived since the Nazis soon transported Alice and her mother to Auschwitz. After being tattooed, mother and daughter were moved to Lippstadt to work 12-hour shifts in a factory. Her father and brother were sent to Bergen-Belsen, where her father perished.

With the war coming to an end, Alice and her mother were shipped to Bergen-Belsen. Alice’s mother succumbed to typhoid at age 35 only 3 weeks before the camp was liberated. Alice and Arni were the sole survivors of their family. While Arni decided to immigrate to Israel, where he would die in the War of Independence at the age of 16, Alice remained in Czechoslovakia, where she married Emil Kominek and had their son, Ivan.

In October 1949, Alice and Emil immigrated to Toronto, Canada, and were given $2 by the Canadian government to restart their lives. They took English lessons, worked in the Shopsy’s factory, and took in boarders. By the time their daughter Helen was born in 1952, Alice and Emil had opened their first European delicatessen. Today, at 85, Alice’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren drop in regularly to visit her. Alice’s family, who love and adore her, has and always will be Alice’s top priority.