David Klebanov

David Klebanov

Born: November 1, 1907

Volkovysk, Poland

Born in the town of Volkovysk when it was part of Russia, David was the son of middle-class Jewish parents. When the family's life was disrupted by World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917, they moved to Borisov and Kiev before finally settling in the Polish city of Bialystok. After completing secondary school in 1925, David studied medicine at Stefan Bathory University in Vilna.

1933-39: After medical school David served one year in the Polish army. Then he practiced obstetrics at a beautiful hospital in a small Polish town. When war broke out on September 1, 1939, he was called up for service and was captured by the Germans on September 3. The Germans had him treat wounded Polish prisoners. After a month, David was allowed to return as a civilian to Bialystok, which by then was occupied by the Soviets.

1940-44: David joined his fiancee in Kovno. On June 22, 1941, the day after their wedding, the Germans invaded. Deported to Riga, he treated the ghetto's few survivors as best he could with no medicine. Secretly, David tried to contain a typhoid epidemic--the Germans would have sooner killed typhoid patients. His SS commandant valued him because David knew how to perform abortions--on women the SS commandant had slept with. Meanwhile, David tried to save other women by terminating their pregnancies; the Nazis killed pregnant women and newborn children.

After the war, David worked in a hospital treating concentration camp survivors and later specialized in the effects of hunger and severe emotional stress on women.