Lewek Szabasson

Lewek Szabasson

Born: March 10, 1914

Kozienice, Poland

Lewek and his five brothers and sisters were born to religious Jewish parents in the town of Kozienice, situated in east central Poland near a birch forest. Lewek's father owned a sawmill, and when Lewek and his brothers were grown, they helped their father manage the family business.

1933-39: When I was 15 I attended an agricultural school near Kozienice, because I wanted to emigrate to Palestine [Aliyah] to work the land. But after the Nazis rose to power in Germany in 1933, emigration preference to Palestine was given to Jewish youths from Germany. Seeing I had no chance to leave, I returned home to Kozienice, where I was trapped when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939.

1940-44: The Germans set up a ghetto in Kozienice in late 1939, and by 1940, when I was 26, I was deported to labor camps in Poland and Germany. I remember that in the Allach labor camp I had a friend who saved his little bits of bread for the future. He finally got so weak doing this that he could not eat at all and died.

Lewek was one of only a few survivors of an extended family of 200 people. He immigrated to the United States in 1949.