"Uncle" Sam Chesla

"His message to the future would be, follow your beliefs, carry on the Jewish religion and traditions, and study the Torah."

Name at birth
Cemach Boruch Ciesla
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Kielce, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Yitchak Yehuda, Talmud Torah teacher
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Reizel Trusch Ciesla, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and Srulka (Yisroel), Tzippa, Chana Malka, Esther, Shloima, Cemach Boruch
How many in entire extended family?
Large extended family
Who survived the Holocaust?
Sam, Srulka, and a nephew, Leizer (Leo) Lajewski Lewis
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Hotel Post in Eggenfelden, Germany
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
St. Joseph, Missouri for nine months
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My brother, Israel Ciesla and his wife, Henia and their two daughters, lived in Detroit. The JDC arranged for the family to come to Detroit in 1950.
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
Married in Kielce, Poland in 1939 and in Detroit, MI, on July 12, 1958
Chaya and Susie Berlin Karp Chesla. His first wife, Chaya was pregnant when she was killed by the Nazis in 1941 or 1942 when she was taken to Treblinka, Homemaker
None but he had three loving nieces, two great nieces, three great nephews, and two great-great nephews at time of his death in 1999; a total of nineteen great nieces and nephews to date, August 15, 2013. We always talk about “Uncle” to the younger children. Three of Uncle’s great great nieces and nephews are named after him, Samantha Meital, Shmuel Borach, Theo Samuel (T-Sam).
What do you think helped you to survive?
Perseverance, determination and having “nine lives.” He was able to escape and know where and when to hide. He knew how to maneuver to get out of dangerous situations. He knew how to protect himself and fight back when he needed to. He had many illnesses in his life but he managed to persevere. Making it to 85 was quite an accomplishment. “Uncle” as he was affectionately known by everyone was a real “character.” He loved kids and chocolate. He always liked and was devoted to the family. He was known for his beautiful cantorial voice for his Davening, Cantorial praying and Layning, reading from the Torah and also studying the Torah.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
His message to the future would be, follow your beliefs, carry on the Jewish religion and traditions, and study the Torah.
Biography given by Miriam Ciesla and Rosa Chessler, nieces of Sam Chesla
Interview date:

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