Gidon was born in on March 3rd, 1935, in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad in German) in former Czechoslovakia.
His family was transported to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp in 1941. Theresienstadt is located near Prague. It is also known as Terezin, in Czech.
Gidon was in the camp from the ages of 6 to 10.
Gidon lost 26 family members in the Holocaust. His father Ernst was number B12156 and died on a death march toward Buchenwald when the Nazis evacuated Auschwitz.
Gidon and his mother Doris stayed together in Theresienstadt. Doris was a slave laborer and also survived.
The Red Army liberated the camp on May 8th, 1945. The camp was under quarantine for several weeks after liberation, as there was a typhus outbreak. Gidon and the other children were sent to a nearby recuperation center for about two weeks, where they were given medical care and proper nutrition.
After liberation, Gidon and his mother returned to Prague and waited for news of Gidon's father and other family members. After a few months, they returned to Karlovy Vary, and Gidon attended school for the first time in his life.
Leaving europe behind
In 1948, Gidon and his mother were able to emigrate to the United States. They lived in Brooklyn for one year and then moved to Toronto, Canada where Gidon's mother remarried. Gidon lived in Toronto for 10 years.
MOVING TO ISRAEL
Gidon moved to Israel in 1959 to live and work in Kibbutz Hazorea. He lived on kibbutz for 15 years altogether. Gidon served in the Nahal unit of the IDF in the 1967 war and again during the War of Attrition.
Just prior to his move to Israel, Gidon changed his birth name, Peter Löw, to Gidon Lev, which is a Hebraization of his name. This practice was common at the time. Learn more here.
Today, Gidon has 6 children, 15 grandchildren & 2 great-grandchildren.
Yes Gidon has visited Theresienstadt/Terezin several times since liberation, most recently while filming a documentary about his life.
No, Gidon does not have a tattoo. Only Auschwitz tattooed its prisoners.
No, Gidon did not meet Ann Frank or Eli Weisel. They were in different areas altogether.
Yes, Gidon has written his story. The True Adventures of Gidon Lev (book) and The True Adventures of Gidon Lev podcast limited series. A documentary about Gidon is in production.
Yes, Gidon has given his Holocaust testimony to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Yes, Gidon's book can be found at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
Yes, we do have a recommended reading list of books about Jewish history, The Holocaust, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
To learn the basics about the Holocaust, check out this link.
To learn more about the history of Theresienstadt, check out this link.
For parents and educators, here is a list of the best books about the Holocaust for children.