My father, Alexander David Riseman, was born to an orthodox family in June 1926 in Lodz, Poland. In January 1940 he was forced into the Lodz ghetto (after his father had been brutally shot by the Nazis) where he remained with his brother, sister and mother until 1944. He was then deported to Auschwitz. After the liberation of Auschwitz he was subjected to the horrors of a death march that passed through Buchenwald and other camps until he was finally liberated by the Russians in Theresienstadt in 1945. Only he and his brother Yitzhak survived the war.
In July 1945 the two brothers, along with other young survivors, were brought to England by RAF planes and were taken to Windermere. There they stayed for a few months to learn English and to become acclimatised to normality. Together they moved to London, at first staying in a hostel for refugees. Subsequently my father decided to study tailoring and cutting because during the war and his years in the ghetto he had been made to produce uniforms for the German army. In 1952 he met and married Freda Chersky and together they built a loving religious Jewish home in north London. He had a tailoring business for many years. Alexander and Freda Riseman had three children, Lea, Pinchas and Helen, and fifteen grandchildren – four in London, three in Basel, Switzerland and eight in Jerusalem.
The square represents Alexander Riseman’s determination to remain a religious Jew despite his terrible experiences. The man’s suit represents his life as a tailor and the Sefer Torah signifies his frum Jewish life, his love for Torah and Mitzvot which he instilled in his children and grandchildren.
Helen Meyer nee Riseman