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. Boleslaw's father wouldn't leave his ill relatives but Boleslaw and his sister decided to escape. Frenzied crowds separated them from their father at the station. They didn't get to say goodbye before boarding a train for the Soviet border. Arriving at a little village on the Polish side, they paid a man to lead them by foot through the forests to the Soviet side.

1940-44: By the winter of 1942 Boleslaw was in a labor camp. He fell so ill with typhus that he couldn't eat. He promised his bread ration to another prisoner, so he'd prop him up during roll call. One day Boleslaw couldn't take it anymore. He tied a belt to an upper bunk, put the other end around his neck, and jumped off. The next thing he remembered, he was lying on the floor of the barracks. The other prisoner was trying to revive him, 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 immigrated to the United States in 1949.