Max Safir

Manes Szafir

Manes Szafir (Max Safir) was born in 1925 in Bodzentyn.

Shimon Manes Szafir (Max Safir) was born in 1925 in Bodzentyn. When the Szafir family moved to the nearby town, Kielce, Max Safir continued to visit his cousins and uncles in Bodzentyn frequently. Throughout all years, Max Safir's hometown was special to him.


During the Holocaust, when Max Safir was only a boy, German SS men came to the house in Kielce and kidnapped him and his brother. Along with many other Jewish boys, they were taken to labour camps in Cieszanów.


When Max Safir returned to Kielce, he experiences the hardships during the time of the ghetto. He decided to go to a brother that was living in Wierzbnik-Starachowice. There, Max Safir ended up in a labour camp in at the ammunitions factory. Eventually, the labour camp was closed, and Max Safir was taken to the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Near the end of the war, Max Safir was forced on a death march to one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camp located near the village of Mauthausen in Austria. From there he was transferred to the sub-camp Ebensee. He was liberated in May 1945.

The book Please, My Dear Sir, Let Me Live is a survivor's testimony of Max Safir, with the cooperation of Ewa Wymark. It vividly describes Max Safir's journey, as a boy in Kielce through the German Nazi concentration camps — forced-labour camps and extermination camps. The book was published in Sweden in 2012. In 2016 it was translated into Polish (Wielmożny panie, niech mi pan pozwoli żyć), and two years later into Hebrew.

Initiating the actions and being involved in the restoration of the Jewish cemetery of Bodzentyn in 2009 was a dream come true for Max Safir.


Read more about the Jewish cemetery >>

Max Safir emigrated from Israel to Sweden in 1955. Well into his 80's and 90's, he was visiting schools, confirmation groups and various associations to share his experiences as a warning against xenophobia and antisemitism.


In recent years Swedish MPs travelled in the tracks of Holocaust and through the eyes of Max Safir, from his birthplace Bodzentyn, childhood in Kielce and the time he spent in the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.


In 2018 Max Safir, among others, encouraged Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven to create a Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Shortly before Max Safir passed away, in June 2020, he was informed about the next action planning steps of the museum.


Sources


Useful information

  • When Max Safir – born Manes Szafir – arrived in Sweden in 1955, he received the name Max Safir by the authorities. Max Safir lived in Stockholm. He had two children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Max Safir passed away on 9 June 2020.
  • Interview code of the USC Shoah Foundation recording: 23507.

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