Auschwitz Survivor Biniaz Will Be at Reagan Library

Auschwitz survivor Celina Karp Biniaz and author William Friedricks will discuss his book Saved by Schindler: The Life of Celina Karp Biniaz on Tuesday, July 25 at 6 p.m., with a book signing at 7 p.m.

This is part of the programming for the Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. exhibition, currently at the Ronald Reagan Museum through August 13.

Biniaz kept her Holocaust experience a secret because she said the years were too terrible to describe, and she did not believe anyone would understand.

That changed with Pacific Palisades director Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List, which brought the Holocaust and the story of Oskar Schindler to millions around the world. The movie prompted Celina to confront her painful past and begin speaking publicly about it.

“Oskar Schindler gave me my life, but Steven Spielberg gave me my voice,” said Biniaz, who was only eight years old when the Germans invaded her homeland of Poland in 1939.

Over the next six years, the child from Krakow endured the Holocaust as the Nazis took away her schooling and civil rights, then herded her and her family into a ghetto.

When the ghetto was liquidated, and the family was sent to Plaszów, a slave labor/concentration camp, where they witnessed unspeakable horrors.

Ultimately, Celina and her parents landed on Schindler’s list, but before being sent to safety at Schindler’s factory, Celina spent several terrifying weeks at Auschwitz where she faced down the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele.

After the war, she and her family moved to the United States. Biniaz finished her education, including a master’s degree at Columbia Teachers College (New York) got married, had a family, and eventually had a career in teaching.

Celina Biniaz, who now lives in Camarillo, poses with Des Moines biographer William B. Fredricks.
Photo: Des Moines Register

This program is part of a programming series for the exhibition, Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away.

Tickets to this event do not include admission into the museum or Auschwitz exhibition and must be purchased separately at click here. This exhibition brings together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world and has never traveled to the U.S. West Coast…until now.

The curator of the exhibit writes, “No book, no podcast, nor history lesson can prepare you for the impact and power this extraordinary collection of artifacts holds.” The exhibit is recommended for those 12 and older.

To register to hear Biniaz and Friedrick and/or to pre-purchase a book, please visit click here.

After WWII Celina Biniaz and her family moved to Des Moines, Iowa. She graduated from Grinnell College and spoke to the graduating class at that college in 2018.
Photo: Justin Hayworth, Grinnell College

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