Survivor STORY

Anne Kinsler (born as Hanni Gikogzki) in Zerbst, Germany. Her father, Aaron was Polish, and her mother, Lena, was born in Konigsberg, Germany. Anne’s father came to Germany as a horse dealer trading horses used in farms, etc. Anne’s maternal grandfather had a business in Konigsberg, East Prussia; while working as her father’s bookkeeper, Lena met Aaron. They moved to Zerbst where Aaron continued working as a horse dealer. After Anne was born, they had another daughter, Irene. The Rezniks were an Orthodox Jewish family.

Aaron was put in jail and his brother convinced him to leave Germany upon his release. Aaron gave his brother money to take to America so they would have resources when they arrived. Anne’s uncle went first to Havana, Cuba. During Kristallnacht (November 1938), Aaron paid to be hidden by one of his Nazi customers in Leipzig; The Rezniks’ home was attacked and vandalized. Anne (10 years old at the time), Lena and sister (five years old at the time) were put in jail. They later went to Berlin. Lena traveled to meet Aaron and took him to the border. He went onto the Netherlands and she returned. Aaron boarded a ship in Rotterdam and sailed to Havana where his brother had immigrated. Anne, Lena and Irene eventually sailed from Hamburg.

Many of Anne’s relatives were sent to concentration camps; an uncle released from a concentration camp went to Shanghai. Anne had two great aunts, Santa Silka who ran a little notions store, and Santa Dershin who ran their home. The aunts had never been separated, but were sent to different concentration camps where they eventually died. Anne’s grandmother was left at her home because she was a diabetic. But the Nazis didn’t allow her to get insulin, so she died at home. Anne’s great uncle who served in the Germany military in World War I eventually immigrated to South Africa where his daughter and her husband were living. Anne’s aunt Ruth ended up in England. Another aunt wound up in a concentration camp in the Netherlands. She was a nurse, married a doctor and they both survived. Anne’s father’s brother and sister survived. The rest of their families did not survive.

Anne’s immediate family reunited in Havana. They lived in the Santos Suarez neighborhood where many Jews had settled. The girls enrolled in school and the family stayed in Cuba a year and a half. Aaron was unable to work in Cuba because he was not a Cuban citizen. Anne’s uncle was living in Decatur, Illinois where Anne’s family had planned to eventually settle. But Lena became ill and the family moved instead to Tampa, Florida. The weather was warmer and the prospects for work in the horse business seemed promising. Aaron ended up in the steel drum, wooden barrel and rag business. In Tampa, Hanni changed her name to Anne against her parents’ wishes. She began working for Hadassah when she was fourteen years old. Around the same age, Anne also won an essay contest on “What Americanism Means to Me” sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The prize included a trip to Washington D.C. where she was hosted by Florida’s Congressman Peterson and Senator Claude Pepper, visited the Senate and had lunch with Vice President Wallace at the White House. In Tampa, the family belonged to Rota Sholum, a conservative synagogue.

Anne met her husband, Jack Reznik, at the Jewish Community Center during World War II. He was from New York and was in the service. A week before Anne’s sixteenth birthday, they married in California where Jack was stationed. They had three sons, Michael Herman (named Herman after Anne’s grandfather), Stephen (Steve) Paul (Stephen and Paul after two of her father’s brothers) and David Alan (Alan after one of her great uncles). When the war was over, they moved back to Tampa and Jack worked for Aaron. Lena died at age fifty-nine. Three years later, Aaron died. Three years after that, Jack died. Anne remarried Bert Sales who sold Israel bonds.

Anne was a life member in Hadassah, served as vice president of Hadassah’s Florida region and was her synagogue’s sisterhood president. She remained in Tampa until 1980 when she moved to Atlanta. Two of Anne’s sons are dentists; the third son opened the first HIV clinic at Grady. Two of her sons live in Atlanta and one lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Bert is deceased. Anne has two grandchildren in Atlanta and belongs to Temple Sinai. Her sister Irene lives in Texas.

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Anne Reznik Kinsler