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July 29, 2021 11:25 am
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Meeting an Unstoppable Jewish Immigrant

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Opinion

The entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

I just finished reading “Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig’s Astonishing Journey From Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend.” It’s an amazing must-read book that is captivating throughout.

It tells the story of Siggi Wilzig, a Holocaust survivor who lived through the Auschwitz and Mauthausen death camps, and who went on to build a business empire in the oil and banking world in America — after arriving in this country with $240 in his pocket.

This is a great book about taking chances, about never losing your sense of humor, about doing the right thing, and about succeeding in spite of all the odds. In an era where so many people today look for shortcuts, we learn that Wilzig cleaned toilets, was a door-to-door salesman, shoveled snow, and so many other things before eventually taking over a bank and running it in a very successful manner. This book shares so many inspirational and relevant tales for all people today interested in learning and growth.

His life was always related back to the atrocity of the camps — he felt taking personal care of others and doing the right thing justified having survived the Holocaust. It gave his life purpose and meaning. So many executives today could learn these lessons — of a man who gave charity, of an executive who was honest, decent, charitable, and hard-working.

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At an Israel Bonds dinner where he was honored in 1975, he said, “I am still in Auschwitz every day. I never gave up my belief in the Almighty. He may have created rats and snakes and Nazis, but he also created beautiful birds and butterflies — and for Jews, the greatest miracle of all: Israel, a homeland for the Jewish people.”

“Unstoppable” is a must-read. And as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, as an entrepreneur, as a Jew, and as a human being, I loved it.

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

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