As Told by Survivor Henry Melnick

Holocaust survivor Henry Melnick was born in Lodz, Poland. Shortly after the Nazis occupied Poland in 1939, his parents were murdered and he became the sole survivor of his entire family.

His story is one of strength and courage. His survival is nothing short of a miracle.



By My Mother's Hand is a personal memoir of the horrors of the Holocaust through Henry's eyes, from the onset of the war to survival.

The creation of By My Mother's Hand was an enormous team effort. In-person interviews along with archival footage of Henry's talks were the sources used to chronicle his complete testimony. In all, the process took over 2 years. 


Tracing Roots to Poland Circa 1930

The narrative begins with Henry recalling his family life in pre-war Poland. He tells of traditional Jewish festivals, a strict upbringing and memories of his family. Life is difficult but peaceful.

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The Nazi War Machine Occupies Europe

The book then details Henry’s transfers among the Nazi’s labor and death camps, narrowly avoiding death several times. He is separated from his parents and becomes the lone survivor of his entire family.


Recovery and Starting a New Life

We learn about Henry’s liberation, recovery, his marriage to Hela in Hanover and fighting for Israel’s independence in 1948. The book also includes the retelling of Hela’s harrowing story of survival.



About Survivor Henry Melnick

Henry was born in Lodz, Poland in 1922. After being moved to the Nowy Sacz ghetto with his family after Nazi occupation isn 1939, he survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buna, Dora-Mittelbau, Bergen-Belsen and other ghettos and concentration camps, becoming the sole survivor of his entire family.


After liberation, Henry volunteered for the Israeli Army and fought for Israel’s independence. He came to Canada in 1965 with his wife Hela and their two children.

Hela passed away in 1987 and Henry married Elaine Shumak in 1991, who encouraged him to speak about his Holocaust experiences. He has two children, seven grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren, residing in both Canada and Israel.


Henry wrote By My Mother’s Hand with the help of two grandchildren, one step-daughter and strong support from Elaine.

Tragically, Henry passed away on his 91st birthday – June 25, 2013 – in Toronto, surrounded by loved ones. His legacy lives on as part of his cherished memory and in the form of By My Mother's Hand.


Henry's Supporting Team


Limore Zisckind



Michael Melnick



Faith Dantowitz



Elaine Melnick



Heeyol Lee


See what others are saying about By My Mother's Hand. All are genuine reviews from real readers across various platforms.

"This wonderful man, like millions of others, has survived such horrors, indifference, cruelty, hate, and injustice it took him to the edge of death, but he was strong in the desire for living and GOD was with him. We must listen to him and all the other survivors so we can remember and speak up against antisemitism."


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Explore a collection of historic and modern-day photographs of Holocaust Survivor and By My Mother's Hand author Henry Melnick and his family.

Click on a photo to view a larger version.



Watch exclusive footage of Holocaust survivor Henry Melnick delivering his testimony, in addition to videos of interviews and lectures with author Limore Zisckind. 

Holocaust survivor Henry Melnick presenting his testimony in 2005

Holocaust survivor Henry Melnick presenting his testimony in 2005

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Holocaust survivor Henry Melnick delivering his Holocaust survival testimonial live to a group of high school students in Toronto during December, 2005.