POLISH CATHOLIC AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR -- NEWS from THE POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS DOWNSTATE NEW YORK DIVISION 177 Kent Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 (516) 352-7125 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 30, 2014MICHAEL PREISLER DEAD IN NEW YORK
NEWS from THE POLISH AMERICAN CONGRESS
DOWNSTATE NEW YORK DIVISION
177 Kent Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11222 (516) 352-7125
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 30, 2014
POLISH CATHOLIC AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR
MICHAEL PREISLER DEAD IN NEW YORK
Photo SS Guards took when Gestapo sent Michael Preisler to Auschwitz in October, 1941.
As Past President of the Downstate NY Polish American Congress, Preisler founded the
Holocaust Documentation Committee to fight Holocaust “distortions and misrepresentations.”
Richmond Hill, N.Y. .. “Nowhere else is Holocaust history as distorted and as misrepresented
as it is about Poland.” These are the words of Michael Preisler, a Polish Catholic survivor of
Auschwitz who came to the United States after World War II and devoted himself to correcting
those distortions and misrepresentations.
Mr. Preisler’s fight for the truth ended with his death on September 29, 2014. He died just
before his children Eva, and Andrew were to observe his 95th birthday with him. He was a
resident of Richmond Hill, New York.
Mr. Preisler is a past president of the Downstate New York Division of the Polish American
Congress who served as such from 1982 to 1990. As someone who spent 3 ½ years as a
prisoner in the dreaded Auschwitz death camp, he founded the Holocaust Documentation
Committee to challenge the anti-Polish “distortions and misrepresentations” that were so
obvious to him. He frequently accepted invitations to speak about his personal Holocaust
experiences at various schools and organizations.
Hitler’s SS guards were not the only killers in Auschwitz, according to Mr. Preisler. What
almost killed him when he was a prisoner there was typhus. The disease sickened him so
severely that his weight went down to only 85 pounds. He said he recovered from it
“only with God’s help.”
One of the events that troubled him most during the years before his presidency of the
Downstate Congress ended was the campaign started in 1989 to oust Carmelite nuns from
a convent they occupied at Auschwitz. He thought the effort was “unjustified.” He also
found it “shameful” that a commemorative cross erected at a nearby gravel pit also
became another target for removal from its site.
Preisler often found it difficult to subdue his emotions when he spoke about all of the
Polish prisoners the guards beat so brutally at that gravel pit, including himself. The
Cross was their special symbol of hope in that place of dreary darkness. Some of them
would even use their fingernails to try to scratch out a cross in the wood of the bunks
where they slept, he recalled.
Events in Poland dominated his time after he became president of the Downstate N.Y.
Congress in 1982. Under Lech Walensa’s leadership, Poland’s first free and
independent trade union, SOLIDARITY looked for support from the West in its
struggle with the Communist system imposed on Poland by Soviet Russia.
Mr. Preisler responded to the plea by organizing pro-SOLIDARITY demonstrations
on the streets of New York City. He also led fund raising drives to provide clothing,
medicines and medical supplies and other items a faltering and failing Communist
economy was unable to produce for its citizens.
Prior to his burial at the cemetery of the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in
Doylestown, Pennsylvania on Thursday, October 2nd, a funeral mass is scheduled
that day for 9:30 a.m. in New York City at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church,
101 East 7th Street in Downtown Manhattan.
The funeral will be directed by Leo F. Kearns, Inc. 85-66 115th Street (at Myrtle Ave.)
in Richmond Hill, N.Y. Viewing on Wednesday, October 1 (afternoon and evening).
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Contact: Frank Milewski
Note to Editor: Attachment is the photo
within this release