Auschwitz Survivor: Too little known about Holocaust's Christian Victims
NEWS from THE POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS THE HOLOCAUST DOCUMENTATION COMMITTEE
177 Kent St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 - (718) 349-9689
A resident of Richmond Hill in New York City, Preisler came to Chicago to participate
in the National Directors meeting of the Polish American Congress in Lincolnwood.
He broke away from the meeting to go to St. Emily's and describe what he and other
Catholics had to endure as Auschwitz inmates.
As someone who continually speaks on the subject, Preisler has serious concerns that
"too many Christians" are uninformed and unaware just how much Christians suffered
during the Holocaust years. "In Poland three million Christians, mostly Catholics,
were killed together with three million Polish Jews" he said.
Lack of such knowledge, Preisler feels, encourages anti-Catholic bigots to take advantage
of the uninformed and try to get away with statements and accusations that are maliciously
"I often wonder what all my fellow Catholics who were murdered in Auschwitz would
say if they were still alive to hear these bigots accuse the Catholic Church as responsible
for the Holocaust. What would the priests the Nazis killed in Auschwitz say if they heard
that the head of their church at the time they died is now being slandered as 'Hitler's Pope'."
Not only did Preisler survive Auschwitz, he also survived the January, 1945 death march.
With the Soviet Army closing in on Auschwitz in the final months of the war, the Germans
decided to move out the remaining prisoners to other camps. While many died in the march,
Preisler's grit and determination kept him alive until he got to the Ebensee camp in Austria
where the U.S. Army liberated him in May.
In the thirty years that followed his liberation, he seldom talked about his terrible experiences.
But he found it impossible to stay silent after he saw how Hollywood and the rest of the
entertainment industry started to fictionalize Holocaust history and confuse the American
public by giving versions of it he knew were simply not true.
Preisler felt it was his obligation to start speaking out. "Obvious misrepresentations were
constantly made and the public was believing them to be factual. And rarely did those in
show business ever treat Catholics fairly" he said.
Mr. Preisler is honorary president of the Downstate N.Y. Division of the Polish American
Congress. He is also co-chair of the organization's Holocaust Documentation Committee
and director of its Speakers Bureau. He can be reached at (718) 805-7371 or by writing to
him at the Polish American Congress, 177 Kent St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222.
Contact: Frank Milewski - (718) 263-2700