Ita Grynbaum

Ita Grynbaum

Born: 1926

Starachowice, Poland

Ita was the second-youngest of nine children born to religious Jewish parents in Starachowice, a town in east-central Poland. Their small one-story house served as both the family's residence and their tailor shop. The tailoring was often done in exchange for goods such as firewood or a sack of potatoes. Ita often helped her mother with chores around the house.

1933-39: Ita's father died at home on a Saturday in June 1939, shortly after returning from synagogue. He had lain down to rest, when suddenly blood ran from his mouth. Her brother, Chuna, ran for the doctor, but when he returned, their father had already died. They buried him in the Jewish cemetery outside town. Ita's mother and older siblings kept the tailor shop running. That September, German forces occupied Starachowice.

1940-45: In October 1942, SS guards forced the town's Jews into the marketplace. Ita, who already was a forced laborer at a nearby factory, was lined up with the "able-bodied," along with Chuna. They were marched to a nearby forced-labor camp, where Ita was put to work serving food to the Polish workers. When a typhus epidemic struck the camp, Ita contracted the disease. Unable to work, she was sent to the barracks for sick prisoners. Chuna visited her daily, often bringing her rags to pad her painful bedsores.

With no medicine or doctors for the sick prisoners, Ita died of her illness after three months. She was buried in a nearby stone quarry. Ita was 17 years old.

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