Chaya Medalion

Chaya Medalion

Born: 1915

Kozienice, Poland

Chaya and her brother and two sisters were raised in a religious, Yiddish-speaking home in the town of Kozienice, situated in east central Poland near a large birch forest. As a child, Chaya learned Hebrew. She attended Polish public schools and graduated at 14. Her father owned a factory that produced handmade shoes.

1933-39: Chaya was active in the Zionist movement, through which she met her boyfriend, Lewek Szabasson. Chaya and Lewek would stroll on Kozienice's main promenade which was at the intersection of Lubelska and Radomska streets. They had hoped to marry, but their plans were dashed when the Germans occupied Kozienice in September 1939. Later that same year, the Nazis established a ghetto in Kozienice.

1940-44: In the early days of the ghetto, its inhabitants managed to smuggle in goods and food by bribing the guards, but after the first year this stopped because the Germans began to restrict the traffic entering and leaving the ghetto. In 1942 Chaya was deported from the Kozienice ghetto to the Wolanow labor camp, near Kielce in Poland. After a week, Chaya was deported once again, this time to the nearby Skarzysko labor camp, where she contracted typhus.

Chaya succumbed to typhus in 1942. She died in Skarzysko at the age of 27.