Bella Jakubowicz

Bella Jakubowicz

Born: September 18, 1926

Sosnowiec, Poland

Bella was the oldest of four children born to a Jewish family in the small city of Sosnowiec, in Polish Silesia. Her father owned a successful knitting factory. In 1938, when she was 12, Bella began attending a private secondary school.

1933-39: When Bella's family returned from vacation in late August 1939, there were rumors of war. Her mother tried to stock up on food but the stores were already out of staples. The Germans took Sosnowiec on September 4; two weeks later they interned all the Jewish men in the city. Her father was then 39 years old. He came back about a week later. He never talked about what happened, but when he returned his auburn hair had turned gray.

1940-44: In August 1942 all the Jews were ordered to report to Sosnowiec's stadium. Since Bella's father worked in a knitting factory important to the war effort he was exempt; his family was not. After standing all day in the stadium, the Germans took them to a nearby building. Her father paid off a militiaman to help them escape. That night, the man found them and led them to the roof where they climbed to the next building and crawled down the chimney. The next day, terrified, they sneaked back to their home, one by one.

In 1943 Bella was deported to a labor camp [Graeben] in Germany and then to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. She was liberated [by British troops] in April 1945, and immigrated to America in 1946.

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