Born in the Shadow of Death

Join Chabad of Paradise Valley and special guest Dr. Mark Olsky as he shares his experiences as a child born to a Holocaust survivor on a cattle car driven by Nazis. The lecture is titled “Born in the Shadow of Death.”

The Nazis murdered his father, but his mother would not let evil take their unborn child too – a remarkable true story about a mother who defied death to give her child life.

Dr. Mark Olsky, as a child, with his mother Rachel.

When Mark was 6 or 7, he asked his mother where he was born. “On a train,” she replied. And he thought, “That’s cool. I liked trains.” It was only later he learned it was a train of cattle cars carrying prisoners to the Mauthausen, one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps.

Dr. Olsky’s mother, Rachel, was two months pregnant when she was sent to Auschwitz where she waited in line as the SS “Angel of Death” doctor, Josef Mengele, judged the new prisoners. Instinctively, Rachel did not admit her pregnancy. As a result, she lived and survived Auschwitz then Freiburg. On April 20, 1945, on the final train ride to Mauthausen, Mark was born.

In 2015, author Wendy Holden took an interest in the story and wrote a book about Mark and two others titled, Born Survivors, published by Harper Collins. The book tells the tale three babies born within weeks of each whose mothers were all on that same train. The Nazis had killed all three of their fathers and their mothers were “walking skeletons,” but somehow, all three women and their babies managed to survive.

Dr Olsky shares a story of courage, survival and rebuilding.

The program is suitable for people of all ages, including teenagers. This lecture is a special opportunity to hear a first-hand account from someone whose life intersected with one of the most compelling figures in our history.

Chabad of Paradise Valley and JPhoenix Young Jewish Professionals are honored to sponsor the event. Corporate sponsorships are also available

Born in the Shadow of Death
When: Feb. 19, 7-9 pm
Where: Scottsdale Plaza Resort, 7200 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Tickets: $10 before Feb. 12; $18 after Feb. 12
Information: Visit

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