Adela Litwak

Adela Litwak

Born: April 15, 1920

Lvov, Poland

Adela was the youngest of five children born to religious Jewish parents in the industrial city of Lvov. Often known by her nickname, Putzi, she grew up in the same building as her paternal grandparents and learned to speak Polish, German and Yiddish. She attended public and private schools in Lvov before graduating from a Polish secondary school.

1933-39: Adela's dream was to go on to medical school. But the tiny Jewish quota at colleges and universities virtually excluded Jews from enrolling. By September 1939 Adela felt there were worse problems than not being able to attend university. The Germans invaded Poland from the west, and the Soviets came from the east and occupied Lvov in late September. Though instituting communism, Soviet rule spared them from German occupation.

1940-44: After the Germans occupied Lvov in July 1941, Adela avoided German roundups and deportation. Her brother-in-law bought her a false ID card from a Pole. Becoming Ksenia Osoba, a Polish Catholic, Adela left Lvov in September 1942 and found work in Krakow as a secretary and governess. Working conditions were not too bad, but she was in constant fear of being discovered. On the trolley one day she met her former classmate. Adela froze. Rather than talk to her Adela got off immediately. Adela didn't know if she would give her away.

Adela kept her false identity until she emigrated to England after the war. She married another Holocaust survivor. Together they moved to Canada and then to the United States.

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