Books·Canada Reads 2019

Max Eisen

Max Eisen was a Holocaust survivor, writer and educator who volunteers his time speaking to schools and other community groups about the horrors of the Holocaust. He died in 2022 at the age of 93.

Author of By Chance Alone, defended by Ziya Tong

Max Eisen is a Holocaust survivor and the author of the memoir By Chance Alone. (Julie Eisen)

Max Eisen's memoir By Chance Alone won Canada Reads 2019, defended by Ziya Tong. Eisen died at the age of 93 on July 7, 2022.

The debates took place March 25-28, 2019 and were hosted by Ali Hassan

About Max Eisen

Max Eisen was a Hungarian Jew who was deported to Auschwitz in the spring of 1944. He was a passionate speaker and educator who volunteered at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto.

His memoir By Chance Alone was a finalist for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize and for the 2017 Non-Fiction Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature.

Why Max Eisen shares his story

"I was in Auschwitz with my father and uncle. There was a selection process in the middle of the night. It was July 9, 1944 and my father and uncle were selected out. I only had a short time to say goodbye to them.

He told me that if I managed to survive, I'd have to tell the world what happened there.

"Through the wire — they were in a quarantine area — my father gave me his blessing. He told me that if I managed to survive, I'd have to tell the world what happened there."

See more in Max Eisen's Why I Write episode.

Max Eisen talks to Shelagh Rogers about his memoir By Chance Alone. (CANADA READS SELECTION)

Max Eisen on what keeps him writing

"I lived through a traumatic and cruel period of history. There are important lessons to be learned and personal accounts to be recorded.

I am inspired by the need to document my story so others may learn from the past.

"I am inspired by the need to document my story so others may learn from the past. On a personal level, I have a highly developed sense of observation of the world around me, which constantly inspires and motivates me to take action." 

Read more in Max Eisen's interview with CBC Books.

Books by Max Eisen 

Interviews with Max Eisen

Why Canada Reads author Max Eisen wrote a book about escaping death during the Holocaust

4 years ago
Duration 2:52
Max Eisen is a Hungarian Jew who was deported to Auschwitz in the spring of 1944. As an author, public speaker and Holocaust educator, Eisen travels throughout Canada giving talks about his experiences as a concentration camp survivor. In 2019, Eisen's memoir By Chance Alone is one of the five books featured on CBC’s annual "battle of the books" competition Canada Reads.
The Holocaust survivor speaks with Adrienne Pan on the Edmonton, Alta. program Radio Active about writing a Canada Reads contender.
The author of By Chance Alone speaks with Chris Dela Torre on the London, Ont. program Afternoon Drive.
Author Max Eisen on his new book about his horrifying time in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War

Auschwitz liberated 65 years ago

13 years ago
Duration 6:35
Interview with Max Eisen, 15 years old when he and his family were sent by cattle-car from Hungary to Auschwitz
Author Max Eisen on his new book about living in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War....and the random acts of kindness that helped him survive and rebuild his life.

Ziya Tong reflects on heeding words of wisdom from elders before they are gone

4 years ago
Duration 1:13
The science journalist and Canada Reads 2019 panellist outlines why a Holocaust memoir is timely and relevant for our times.

 

 

 

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