Speaker's Bureau


Les Aigner

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Leslie was born in 1929 in Czechoslovakia. In the early 1940s his family moved to Budapest in the hope of escaping oppressive Nazi discrimination against Jews. In 1943 the Nazis forced Leslie’s father into a slave labor camp and his sixteen-year-old sister was taken to a factory to do forced labor.
 
In 1944 Leslie, his mother, and his eight-year-old sister were taken from their home to the Budapest Ghetto. From there they were taken to Auschwitz, where his mother and sister were sent directly to the gas chambers.  From Auschwitz Leslie was shipped to Landsberg, Germany, a sub camp of Dachau, where he was forced to perform hard labor on Nazi war machinery. Later he was relocated the Kaufering concentration camp where he contacted Typhus and barely survived. From Kaufering he was shipped to Dachau on the “death train” which was thus named because it arrived with more dead passengers than alive. By the time the train reached Dachau Leslie weighed just 75 pounds. He was liberated in Dachau by American troops on April 29, 1945. Doctors treated him for over a month before he could walk on his own. After liberation he returned to his home in Hungary to find that most of his family members had been murdered in the Holocaust.
 
Leslie married his wife Eva in 1956 in Hungary. Later that year they escaped from Communism with the great desire to build a family in a free country. They settled in Portland, Oregon and became the proud parents of two wonderful children and four grandsons.

After local Holocaust deniers became vocal in the late 1980s, Leslie and Eva began sharing their story with hundreds of thousands of audience members. One of their proudest moments was when the Oregon Holocaust Memorial was created, and dedicated in Washington Park in 2004.


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