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Aron was born to a middle-class Jewish family in Slonim, a part of Poland between the two world wars. His parents owned a clothing store. After studying in a technical school, Aron worked as a motion-picture projectionist in a small town near Slonim. The Soviet army took over Slonim in September 1939. War broke out between Germany and the Soviet Union in June 1941. Aron returned to Slonim. The Germans soon occupied Slonim, and later forced the Jews into a ghetto. Aron was forced to work in an armaments factory, and was able to smuggle arms into the ghetto. After helping his family escape when the Germans destroyed the ghetto, Aron worked in Grodno until he was arrested. While being deported from Grodno, Aron jumped off the cattle car. He eventually managed to escape from Grodno and join the underground outside Vilna. After the war, he and his wife (whom he had met in the Slonim ghetto) immigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago.
Niels was raised in a religious Jewish household. In 1932, the family fled to Copenhagen, Denmark, where Niels's father opened an antique store in the mid-1930s. The Germans invaded Denmark in April 1940, but to Niels, little seemed to change during three years of occupation. Upon hearing of German plans to round up Jews in October 1943, Niels and his family decided to flee. A member of the resistance took them to the fishing village of Snekkersten, from where they were able to cross by boat to Sweden. Niels returned to Denmark in May 1945.
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.
Shortly after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, William's family was ordered into a ghetto and his brother went to a work camp. William bribed officials to discharge his brother from a hospital destined for evacuation to Auschwitz. Later, after escaping from a prison camp to tend to his brother, William was jailed. He was sent to Blechhammer, Gleiwitz (where he met his future wife), and other camps. William collapsed during a death march near the Austrian border, but was then liberated. His parents and brother perished.
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