Edek Blonder

Edek Blonder

Born: December 25, 1920

Jaslo, Poland

The Blonder family lived in a two-room apartment in the back of a store. Edek was the third of eight children. His father eked out a meager living by tutoring students in Jewish subjects, and beginning in 1930 he worked distributing food vouchers to the poor.

1933-39: After graduating from secondary school, Edek was invited to play soccer professionally on the local Club Maccabi team, which was part of a Jewish soccer league. Club Maccabi arranged for him to attend trade school to learn cabinet making at night so he could practice during the day. Edek was 18 and had played his third professional game when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. By September 7 they had reached Jaslo.

1940-44: The ghetto in Jaslo was set up in winter 1941. Edek was put to work doing menial jobs for the Gestapo, which included maintenance work at the Gestapo headquarters. One day he was stopped by one of the Gestapo who was drunk. He beat Edek on the side of his face and demanded, "Where can I find the rich Rothschild family from France?" Edek told him repeatedly that he had no idea where he could find them, but the more Edek said this, the more he hit him. Because of this beating Edek permanently lost some of his hearing.

Edek spent the next four years in concentration camps, including Auschwitz. His entire immediate family perished in the Holocaust. Edek immigrated to the United States in 1946.