By – Sara Brodsky, Culinary Services Coordinator – Calgary South
Alex Buckman was born in 1939 in Brussels. When the Nazis invaded Belgium, Alex’s family, in desperation, paid a Catholic family to protect their baby while they were sent to Auschwitz. Alex was sent from home to home when families feared they would be caught. He spent the balance of the war hidden in an orphanage. When the war ended, Alex watched all the other children being reunited with their parents while his own parents perished in the concentration camp.
The Red Cross posted Alex’s name with other orphaned children in the hopes of reuniting lost families. Herman Teitelbaum, Alex’s uncle, found him. Along with his wife, Rebecca, they raised Alex as their own from that point forward.
Alex Buckman is an outstanding speaker at holocaust symposiums in British Columbia and Calgary. Alex told the story of his Aunt. He retold how she would write recipes from memory as a way to keep her sanity. She would find any scrap of paper she could find in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp and just keep writing. When she was liberated, she lost her precious recipes. Three years later, Alex recalls the time when a man dropped off a package to his Aunt which she quickly hid.
After Alex immigrated to Vancouver, he later returned to Belgium to visit his Aunt. He found the long ago hidden package and asked his Aunt for permission to share her precious recipes with those he spoke to about his experiences.
In tribute to his Aunt’s strength, Alex shares these recipes with schools, community groups and others to whom he speaks.
One of the recipes that survived was Gateau à L’Orange (Orange Cake). Sharing this recipe is sure to teach about resilience and compassion. It is now our honor to share the recipe with you. The original handwritten recipe book will be put on display at the Vancouver Holocaust Centre in June 2018.
Recipe by Rebecca Teitelbaum
Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, Germany, 1943
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 large eggs
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange peel
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, the eggs, one at a time.
Add dry ingredients, alternating with wet ingredients.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
Shared with permission from Alex Buckman.