Boleslaw Brodecki

Boleslaw Brodecki

Born: March 3, 1921

Warsaw, Poland

Raised by religious Jewish parents, Boleslaw and his older sister grew up in an apartment complex in a Jewish section of Warsaw. His father worked as an accountant. When Boleslaw was 8 years old, his mother died, and an aunt moved in to help raise him and his sister. Boleslaw loved electronics. When he was 10 years old, he succeeded in building a portable radio.

1933-39: The Germans attacked Warsaw on September 8, 1939. The bombing was relentless. My father wouldn't leave his ill relatives but my sister and I decided to escape. Frenzied crowds separated us from Papa at the station. We didn't get to say goodbye before boarding a train for the Soviet border. Arriving at a little village on the Polish side, we paid a man to lead us by foot through the forests to the Soviet side.

1940-44: By the winter of 1942 I was in a labor camp. I fell so ill with typhus that I couldn't eat. I promised my bread ration to another prisoner, so he'd prop me up during roll call. One day I couldn't take it anymore. I tied a belt to an upper bunk, put the other end around my neck, and jumped off. The next thing I remembered, I was lying on the floor of the barracks. The other prisoner was trying to revive me, shouting, "Hurry, you'll miss today's bread rations."

Boleslaw was liberated by the Soviets at Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. After several years in a displaced persons camp, he emigrated to the United States in 1949.