The Story of Sam Gardener 1925-2013
Sam Gardner was born in 1925 as Shmuel Yankel Golberg, in Pietrokow, Poland. Following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, punitive laws were enforced against the Jews, who were constantly in fear for their lives.
In 1942 Sam and his father were selected to work as slave labourers in an ammunitions factory. A year later they were moved to Buchenwald Concentration Camp where they lost their only possessions – their treasured photographs. In 1944 he was separated from his father in Schlieben Labour Camp, never to see him again. Finally, in April 1945 Sam was taken on a long ‘death journey’ on cramped cattle trucks with no food, water or sanitation, to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Out of 2000 on the journey he was one of 42 that survived. The survivors of Mauthausen were liberated by the Americans, whom Sam described as “Angels from Heaven.”
When Britain agreed to take 1000 child refugees, Sam was one of the 300 ‘Boys’ who were taken to Windermere. He finally settled in Manchester, married and had two daughters, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Sam’s story of survival is told by his daughter Maralyn.
Presented by Maralyn Turgel
Maralyn is a retired teacher who spent over 40 years in education, specialising in children with Special Needs. She was also an International Folk Dancing teacher and a dance performer herself. She is married and has three grown-up sons and six grandchildren.
Despite growing up with the challenges of a refugee parent who had suffered unimaginable traumas, Maralyn did not hear her father’s story until she was 45 years old. In 2018, Maralyn visited Poland to research Sam’s story and along with his testimony was able to create her presentation.
She feels that the purpose of telling Sam’s story is not only to educate about the Holocaust and to demonstrate triumph over adversity, but to show where extremism and racism can ultimately lead. It is a message of acceptance of difference and a call to address injustice.