Belfast Telegraph

Holocaust survivor’s life celebrated at ‘poignant’ ceremony in Dublin

Jan Kaminski escaped from a death camp at the age of 10 during the Second World War and arrived in Ireland in 1954 to study at Trinity College.

A book of condolence at the ceremony celebrating the life of Holocaust survivor Jan Kaminski (Niall Carson/PA)
A book of condolence at the ceremony celebrating the life of Holocaust survivor Jan Kaminski (Niall Carson/PA)

A “poignant and moving ceremony” has been held for Holocaust survivor Jan Kaminski, who died in Dublin last week.

The 87-year-old, who was born into a Jewish family, fled his home in Poland at the age of 10 after his family were captured by Nazis and taken to a death camp.

He never saw them again after making his escape during the Second World War.

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Family members carry the coffin of Holocaust survivor Jan Kaminski (Niall Carson/PA)

While on the run, Mr Kaminski, who was born Chaim-Srul Zybner, was forced to change his name to hide his Jewish identity.

He arrived in Ireland in 1954 with a scholarship to study economics and politics at Trinity College in Dublin.

The father-of-three, who was surrounded by his family when he died, was one of four Holocaust survivors who moved to Ireland.

A Humanist ceremony celebrating his life took place at the Victorian Chapel, Mount Jerome, in Harold’s Cross on Monday.

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Jan Kaminski’s daughter Jadzia (left), chats with fellow Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental and his partner Joyce Weinrib (Niall Carson/PA)

Two of his children, Jadzia and Jas Kaminski, spoke about their father during the ceremony while two of his lifelong friends, Nick McGillicuddy and Artur Tyskziewicz reflected on the grandfather’s life.

Celebrant Brian Whiteside described it as “poignant and moving”.

“It was remarkable that this person who, at the age of 10, had to live by his wits after his world had been turned upside down and his family taken to a death camp,” he said.

“It was extraordinary he could do that.

“Jan came to Ireland with no passport or money and Nick and his family took him under their wing and he became an honorary family member and they remained lifelong friends.”

Jan managed to get away and he ran into a forest and he lived by his wits and at one stage, at the age of 11, he became a mascot and runner for the Russian army’s Polish Corps Brian Whiteside

He added: “His son Jas spoke of how his father’s family were hurled into a holding area and taken to death camp.

“Jan managed to get away and he ran into a forest and he lived by his wits and at one stage, at the age of 11, he became a mascot and runner for the Russian army’s Polish Corps.”

Mr Kaminski is survived by his children Orla, Jadzia and Jas, grandchildren Kazia, Liadain, Lana and Isak, sons-in-law Stephen and David, cousin Sura and a large circle of friends.

PA

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