Phillip Maisel OAM and his twin sister Bella Hirshorn AM were born in August 1922, in Vilna, Lithuania. Growing up, they were inseparable. When the Germans arrived in Vilna in 1941, their lives changed dramatically. Phillip survived two years in a squalid, overcrowded Jewish ghetto, before enduring multiple Nazi labour and concentration camps. He and Bella were both in Stutthof Concentration Camp at the same time, but never knew the other was there. Phillip was liberated in 1945 while on a Death March. He discovered where Bella was and rode a motorcycle 500km to reach her. They moved to Australia in 1949.
Since 1989, Phillip has been Head of the Jewish Holocaust Centre's Video Testimonies Department in Melbourne. For over 30 years, Phillip has worked at Melbourne's Jewish Holocaust Centre, recording on video 2000 testimonies of other survivors and their descendants - each story of survival a miracle in its own right - earning Phillip the nickname 'The Keeper of Miracles'.
Click an author image to download. By using this photograph, you agree to the following Terms of Licence.