Andrew Raab

Sprouting New Life

As an only child whose parents were murdered in the Holocaust, Andrew Raab was completely alone after the war—until he laid the seeds to build a new life in Canada.

Andrew Raab was born in Komarno, Czechoslovakia, on April 2, 1923, into an Orthodox Jewish family, the only child of Michael and Irene Raab.

While the ugly face of antisemitism had reared its head since Komarno had become a part of Hungary in 1938—the licences of Jewish businesses had been revoked and Jewish males were recruited to labour battalions—March 20, 1944, proved to be a fateful day for Andrew. Unaware that the Germans had occupied Hungary the night before, Andrew was travelling to Budapest to sell his bridal wares.

Andrew was arrested en route and taken to a camp at Kistarcsa with 2000 other people.

In desperation, Andrew’s parents hired Hungarian lawyers to release their son, but to no avail; five weeks later, Andrew was one of the first Hungarian Jews to be shipped to Auschwitz.

Andrew considers himself lucky that after two days he was shipped to a work camp in Silesia, Germany. There he unloaded lumber and cement for the German army until his liberation on May 9, 1945.

In spite of everything, Andrew is grateful: “I am very thankful for G-d who helped me and gave me faith and strength to survive.”

Then the rebuilding began. He opened a textile business first in Komarno and then Budapest. Then his fiancé, Magda Birnbaum, whom he had met a couple of years earlier, wrote to him from Vancouver, Canada. She was able to secure a visa for Andrew.

In June 1950, Andrew and Magda were married in Canada and were blessed with a daughter, Judy, soon afterwards.

Unfortunately, Magda passed on in 2008. Now living in Toronto, Andrew keeps himself busy, feeling less alone surrounded by the love of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.