I Chose Life: Biography of a Holocaust Survivor Saul I. Nitzberg, M. D. A Survivor's Search for Peace

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Dr. Saul Nitzberg, a survivor of Auschwitz, passed away in February 2000. Because his wife had spent many hours interviewing Dr. Nitzberg, the authors chose to tell his story by using Saul’s own words, interlaced with narrative. The numerous papers, letters and documents his wife had preserved over the years supplemented the vivid portrait Saul had painted of his life.


Imbedded in a loving family, Saul’s life in Poland was tranquil in the early 1930’s. However, the insidious onset of World War II destroyed the peace of his country, his community, and the lives of his family. While the ominous sequence of events was most frightening, neither the family nor the surrounding community could possibly envision the terror that was about to befall them. Saul described those events that ultimately led to the occupation of his city by the Russians and then the Germans. He described his four year journey from the Pruzhany ghetto to Auschwitz, and finally to freedom.


The events of Saul’s life following liberation were both fulfilling and remarkably compelling, but peace continued to elude him. His only brother, Lova, had been sucked up into the vortex of the war and had disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. The United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War and there was no way to communicate with Soviet citizens.





Saul repeated these words to his wife over and over. Separated from his brother for thirty-three years, he was not sure that Lova was still alive. Yet, Saul’s yearning to attempt to find him never waned. When the Iron Curtain lifted, he traveled to Russia in order to satisfy that need. His experiences surrounding the trip were shrouded in intrigue. It was a heart-rending venture, filled with moments of uncertainty, angst, and the nagging fear that it was quite possible that his quest would end in failure.


Still another need kept Saul from achieving closure. Pressed to face the ghosts of his past, he returned to Auschwitz. He wanted to recite the Kaddish prayer for his parents at that vast gravesite that had claimed their lives. The once unthinkable, dark journey back to Auschwitz stirred searing memories and emotions as he bid his parents a poignant farewell. He hoped that at long last he might find peace and say with conviction, “I  chose life.”

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About the author (2007)



Dr. Nitzberg has served on the Board and the Executive Board of the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center in Hollywood, Florida since its inception in 1981. The Center records and documents the oral histories of Holocaust survivors, and educates young people so that they are aware of the implications of hatred and prejudice, and how such behaviors can lead to genocide. 


Dr. Nitzberg has chaired  the Oral History Committee of the Center. She helped to plan the interviewers’ training programs and Student Awareness Days, trained interviewers, and helped to develop the questionnaires that would be used to secure the histories. She also interviewed survivors about their Holocaust experiencdes.


Dr. Nitzberg spent many hours interviewing her husband, Dr. Saul Nitzberg, a survivor of Auschwitz, documenting his experiences before, during, and after World War II. 


Dr. Nitzberg was married to Saul Nitzberg for fifty years. They had five children and twelve grandchildren.





Marilyn Segal, PhD is a noted developmental psychologist, educator and researcher specializing in early childhood.


Dr. Segal  is the founder and Dean Emeritus of the Family and School Center at Nova Southeastern University. She has served as Director of Academic and Training Programs in the Mailman Segal Institute and Professor of Developmental Psychology at Nova University. She has served on the boards of the Florida Children's Forum, the Florida Assocation for Infant Mental Health, and Zero to Three, the Natiional Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. 


Dr. Segal has authored or co-authored over 19 books for professional and/or general audiences that have been translated into many languages. She has also created a nine-part TV series that has been widely praised by educators, parents, caregivers, and medical professionals.


She is the mother of five children and thirteen grandchildren.

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