Born in 1930 in Kaunas, Lithuania, Kalman Perk was deported with his family to the Kovno ghetto in 1941. Hiding in a cellar in July 1944 to escape the impending liquidation of the ghetto, the family was forced to abandon their hiding place due to German-ignited fires in the ghetto. They were then loaded onto a cattle car and deported to the concentration camps. Convinced by his parents that he must escape, Kalman jumped out the window of the moving train and fled eastward into Russia. Kalman adopted the last words his father spoke to him before escaping from the train, "Be a decent person", as the guiding principle of his life.
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