Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend

Siggi B. Wilzig, born Siegbert Wilzig, on March 11, 1926, into a German Jewish family in the town of Krojanke in West Prussia, Germany. By 1945, fifty-nine members of Siegbert’s family had been murdered in the Holocaust, and he was one of the few survivors in his family. In 1947, Siegbert came to the U.S. at which time he legally changed his name to Siggi Bert Wilzig — "Siggi B. Wilzig." He arrived in New York at 21, with only $240, no education beyond grade school, and no business contacts. By the end of his career, Siggi was the President, CEO, and Chairman of a New York Stock Exchange-listed oil company and a multibillion-dollar commercial bank who also dedicated his time and philanthropy to Holocaust education.  

This three-part series of 45-minute lessons provides middle and high school students with an introduction to the study of the Holocaust through the experiences of Siggi B. Wilzig. Siggi was a survivor of Auschwitz — a concentration and death camp in occupied Poland– and Mauthausen — a concentration camp in Upper Austria — who would become an immigrant and successful businessman in the United States. These lessons can be taught alone or in conjunction with Joshua M. Greene’s biography, Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig’s Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend, and the accompanying short film, I’m Still in Auschwitz. Excerpts of Unstoppable and I’m Still in Auschwitz are woven into each lesson.  

The lessons focus on three distinct periods in the long arc of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust, weaving the particular experiences of Siggi B. Wilzig into the larger narratives of antisemitism, the attempted destruction of the Jewish people, survival, and resilience. 

Download the lesson plans (with Florida Holocaust education standards) here.