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Eva was the second daughter of five children born to Jewish parents. Her father dealt in real estate, and the family owned the apartment building in which they lived. The building had an elevator, a luxury for that time. Eva finished high school, and she began working for her father and studying history at a small local university.
1933-39: Nightlife for young people was lively in Lodz, and Eva often went dancing with her boyfriend, Herman. In 1939 they married. Then the Germans invaded. One day, the Gestapo banged at their door. They slapped Eva's father-in-law, demanding they hand over their valuable rugs. "The maid already took them," she protested. When they yelled back, Eva grabbed one man by the lapels: "Why don't you believe us? We're leaving! Here, see our suitcases?" They left.
1940-44: Herman and Eva were caught in the ghetto of Piotrkow Trybunalski after they arrived there in May 1941 looking for food. Eva's family was deported there as well. For three years she worked with her mother and sisters in the ghetto; in November 1944 all the women were deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. When they got off the train Nazis "examined" their crotches for hidden valuables. The work Eva did in the camp was so backbreaking that she lost tissue in her spine.
As the Allies advanced, the camp prisoners were evacuated to the Bergen-Belsen camp. There, Eva was liberated by the British in April 1945. She moved to the United States in 1950.
Fritzie's father immigrated to the United States, but by the time he could bring his family over, war had begun and Fritzie's mother feared attacks on transatlantic shipping. Fritzie, her mother, and two brothers were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Her mother and brothers died. Fritzie survived by pretending to be older than her age and thus a stronger worker. On a death march from Auschwitz, Fritzie ran into a forest, where she was later liberated.
In 1942, Hana was confined with other Jews to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where she worked as a nurse. There, amid epidemics and poverty, residents held operas, debates, and poetry readings. In 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz. After a month there, she was sent to Sackisch, a Gross-Rosen subcamp, where she made airplane parts at forced labor. She was liberated in May 1945.
Blanka was an only child in a close-knit family in Lodz, Poland. Her father died in 1937. After the German invasion of Poland, Blanka and her mother remained in Lodz with Blanka's grandmother, who was unable to travel. Along with other relatives, they were forced into the Lodz ghetto in 1940. There, Blanka worked in a bakery. She and her mother later worked in a hospital in the Lodz ghetto, where they remained until late 1944 when they were deported to the Ravensbrueck camp in Germany. From Ravensbrueck, Blanka and her mother were sent to a subcamp of Sachsenhausen. Blanka was forced to work in an airplane factory (Arado-Werke). Her mother was sent to another camp. Soviet forces liberated Blanka in spring 1945. Blanka, living in abandoned houses, made her way back to Lodz. She discovered that none of her relatives, including her mother, had survived. Blanka then moved westward to Berlin, eventually to a displaced persons camp. She immigrated to the United States in 1947.
Ruth moved to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass") in 1938. She and her father had permits to sail to the United States, but Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 and they could not leave. Ruth was deported to the Westerbork camp in 1943 and to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany in 1944. After an exchange agreement with the Allies broke down, Ruth was interned near the Swiss border until liberation by French forces in 1945.
After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Dora's family fled to Vilna, Lithuania. When the Germans occupied Vilna, Dora's father was shot and the rest of the family was confined in the Vilna ghetto. Dora, her sister, and her mother were deported to the Kaiserwald camp in Latvia and then to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig. Her mother and sister perished in Stutthof. Dora herself was shot immediately before liberation, but she survived.
Both of Charlene's parents were local Jewish community leaders, and the family was active in community life. Charlene's father was a professor of philosophy at the State University of Lvov. World War II began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Charlene's town was in the part of eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Union under the German-Soviet Pact of August 1939. Under the Soviet occupation, the family remained in its home and Charlene's father continued to teach. The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, and arrested Charlene's father after they occupied the town. She never saw him again. Charlene, her mother, and sister were forced into a ghetto the Germans established in Horochow. In 1942, Charlene and her mother fled from the ghetto after hearing rumors that the Germans were about to destroy it. Her sister attempted to hide separately, but was never heard from again. Charlene and her mother hid in underbrush at the river's edge, and avoided discovery by submerging themselves in the water for part of the time. They hid for several days. One day, Charlene awoke to find that her mother had disappeared. Charlene survived by herself in the forests near Horochow, and was liberated by Soviet troops. She eventually immigrated to the United States.es.
Madeline was born into a middle class family in an area of Czechoslovakia that was annexed by Hungary in 1938-1939. Her father worked out of their home and her mother was a homemaker. Madeline attended high school. In April 1944 her family was forced into a Hungarian ghetto. The family lived in the ghetto for two weeks before being transported to Auschwitz. Madeline and her mother were separated from her father and older brother. Neither her father nor brother survived the war. A week after arriving in Auschwitz, Madeline and her mother were sent to work in an ammunition factory in Breslau. They were in the Peterswaldau subcamp of Gross-Rosen for one year until liberation by Soviet forces in May 1945. Madeline and her mother lived in a displaced persons camp in Munich while awaiting visas to the United States. They arrived in New York in March 1949.
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