Isaac D. Ain
Holocaust survivor

This son of a cabinetmaker was born in Bialystok, Poland. At age seventeen he was imprisoned in Auschwitz. Isaac remembers the Nazi official who decided life or death for him at a glance. "He pointed his finger. `You go there.' And what it meant was that I wasn't going to be taken to the gas chambers as my parents and little sister were," Isaac recalls. Earlier, elements of the German army came into Bialystok "shooting, burning, raping all the girls. And robbing. And killing. After ten days they moved out," he says. The Russians moved in and treated them more humanely. Isaac worked in a Russian factory and ate rationed food. Later the Germans returned, forced the Jewish citizens in a ghetto, and then began transporting them to work and death camps. At Auschwitz Isaac worked in a shop where he built ammunition boxes as well as furniture for families of SS guards. He survived on a piece of bread and a small bowl of soup a day. In early 1945, to escape advancing Allied armies, German guards herded the prisoners onto forced marches in the bitterly cold winter. Eventually Americans liberated him. Suffering from typhus, he stayed in hospitals "four to five months" until he recovered. The Shreveport Jewish Federation sponsored his immigration to America. Isaac arrived in New Orleans in December of 1949 "with nothing," he recalls. "Just two pairs of pants and a couple of pairs of socks." He worked in a cabinet shop, and learned English in a class at a synagogue. He later began his company, Ain Dental Laboratory, which he still runs.