Bronia Cyngiser

Standing against Holocaust denial

Bronia Cyngiser knew it was time to take a stand when Holocaust denial in Canada became too much to bear.

When Eckville, Alberta, social studies teacher Jim Keegstra made worldwide headlines for teaching that the Holocaust was a hoax, Bronia could not stand idly by. Together with her husband, Sidney Cyngiser, she began sharing her story within and well beyond Calgary. Her powerful message of love and hope for the future has inspired thousands ever since.

When she was 7, Bronia’s life changed abruptly when the Nazis invaded Poland. Bronia’s immediate family was rounded up as the ghetto was liquidated, and they were sent to Starchovice, a forced labour camp.

From there, Bronia’s family was transported to Auschwitz. Bronia recalls the terrifying moments during a selection by the notorious Dr. Mengele and the tearful good-byes as inmates were sent to the showers, for word had already reached them of the gas chambers.

At the beginning of 1945, as the Russians advanced, Bronia was first marched and then transported to Bergen-Belsen, where Bronia witnessed the deaths of both her mother and sister in the 10 days prior to liberation.

After the war, while recovering from tuberculosis at a hospital in Vaihingen-Enz, Germany, Bronia met Sidney Cyngiser, later marrying him in Calgary in 1951. Bronia worked hard at rebuilding her life, turning her attention and love to raising her son and daughter. Bronia has served as President of the Aliyah Chapter of Hadassah, Women’s UJA Divisional Co-chair, and State of Israel Bonds Co-chair.

She was honoured by the Jewish National Fund and was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The Cyngisers have supported many educational institutions. Bronia’s greatest gift has been her generosity of spirit: she has shared her story with countless school, church, and community service organizations throughout Alberta.

Today, Bronia enjoys her four grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren, referring to her family as “our most important accomplishment.”