Channa Morgensztern

Channa Morgensztern

Born: 1896

Kaluszyn, Poland

Channa and her husband and five children lived 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. Channa's husband, Jankel, was employed as a clerk in the town hall. After Channa's children reached school age, she helped her mother run a newspaper kiosk in town.

1933-39: Germany has invaded Poland, and our hopes that Kaluszyn wouldn't be in the line of fire have been shattered. First, a German plane flew over our town and dropped a bomb on people waiting in line outside a bakery. Then, a few days later, German forces fought Polish troops in a battle here. Half the town, including our house, has been destroyed by bombs and fire so we're moving to nearby Minsk Mazowiecki where Jankel's family lives.

1940-44: The Nazis have forced all the Jews in Minsk Mazowiecki to relocate to one small area in the town. Many of the houses here have been destroyed by shelling and more than 5,000 of us are living in the few houses that remain standing. Typhus, carried by lice, has started to spread throughout the ghetto, and very little medicine is available. My oldest son Josel managed to escape to the USSR in 1939 and is now living in the Far East. But what will happen to my four children still here with us--Duvid, Esther, Dobcia and Faiga?

In 1942, 46-year-old Channa and her family fled to Kaluszyn to escape deportation. Soon after, however, most of the Jews in Kaluszyn were deported to the Treblinka killing center.