International March of the Living deeply mourns the loss of Sidonia Lax, Z”L, beloved Holocaust survivor and educator who passed away on Dec. 13, 2022.
Sidonia first joined the Los Angeles BJE March of the Living journey in 2007 and participated almost yearly since then, sharing her positivity and endless energy with countless students who were inspired by the message she shared with them.
Sidonia’s motto was: “A living is what you get, a life is what you give.” Sidonia gave March of the Living and all the people she interacted with an immeasurable gift that will be treasured for years to come.
May her family be granted comfort among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
ABOUT SIDONIA LAX Z”L
Sidonia Lax was born in 1927 in Przemysl, Poland. She was the only child and her parents lived a life that some considered to be affluent. In 1939 the war broke out in Poland. In 1939 Nazi tanks enter Poland and everything was taken away from the Jews. People were losing their possessions, the Germans took her radio, which was her last precious item. Sidonia had to wear a yellow star and all the Jews in the town were forced into a ghetto. There was no medicine, no food. At the age of 12 she was selected for a job- breaking up large rocks into small rocks which helped her develop her muscles.
People started to disappear and Sidonia and her family went to hide in a bunker under an apartment building. They arranged for a Polish policeman to meet them at a certain time and he would help them escape. However, when her mother who was first in line left the hiding place- she was killed. Some time later her father tried to escape because he heard that there were some apples and he wanted to get some fresh apples for his daughter. He never returned- Sidonia was left an orphan – alone – yellow in color from lack of food and full of lice. She was discovered by a Nazi officer and his dog and put in jail – and eventually, she landed in Auschwitz. She had her head shaved. She was placed with nine other people in a small building. There was one bed and one blanket for them. In the morning each person was to stand at attention, standing on ice, and with no movement whatsoever. Sidonia was lucky to get a pair of shoes and she watched everyday as people were directed to the left or right- to life or death. Because she was strong from breaking up rocks in the ghetto, she was always selected to go to work.
Her job was to work on grenades filled with chemicals. One day, they were told not to load the grenades on the train. A voice rang out and said “load the prisoners,” All the prisoners at the work site were loaded into the trains and because the Allies who started bombing the Nazis thought that trains was loaded with weapons- they bombed it. Sidonia’s clothes caught fire and she jumped from the train and rolled around in the wet grass to quench the fire.
The war was over and she went to a displacement camp and she found out that she had an uncle and a cousin in the U.S. She made her way to Austria, Switzerland and then ultimately was able to make her way to America. When she saw the Statue of Liberty, she wept. Sidonia came to Los Angeles and lived with her uncle and aunt. She eventually married Lewis Lax, had three children, who married and she then said she had six children. Along came 5 grandchildren and now 2 great grandchildren.