Chuna Grynbaum

Chuna Grynbaum

Born: April 1, 1928

Starachowice, Poland

Chuna was born in a small one-story house that served as both his family's residence and their tailor shop. He was the youngest of nine children born to religious Jewish parents. The family's tailor shop mostly served Starachowice's Catholic Poles. The work was often done in exchange for goods such as firewood or a sack of potatoes.

1933-39: Chuna's father died unexpectedly in June 1939. After returning from synagogue one day, his father lay down to rest. He asked Chuna to close the shade to darken the room. Chuna did, and when he next looked at him, blood was running from his mouth. He ran to his mother, who dispatched him to get the doctor. But when Chuna returned, his father had already died. They buried him in the Jewish cemetery outside town. That September, the Germans occupied Starachowice.

1940-45: Chuna was 13 when he was sent in 1942, with some of his family, to do forced labor at a munitions factory. One night in 1943 his sister, Faiga, told him there was going to be an escape. The camp lights were cut, and then they tried to squeeze through a hole cut in the fence, but it jammed up with other prisoners. Then Chuna heard gunfire and a bullet struck his head. Bleeding, he ran back into the camp. The next day they were marched to the hole in the fence. Wounded prisoners still lay there. His sister was among them, but she was dead.

Chuna was deported to the Buna-Monowitz labor camp at Auschwitz, and later to the Flossenbürg camp in Germany. At 17 he was liberated and one year later he immigrated to the United States.