Zelda Piekarska

Zelda Piekarska

Born: July 27, 1927

Sosnowiec, Poland

Zelda was born to a close-knit Jewish family in Sosnowiec, a city in the coal-mining region of Poland. Her father owned a restaurant and also co-owned a chocolate and candy factory. Zelda loved to dance; she was an excellent tap dancer.

1933-39: On September 4, 1939, the Germans entered Sosnowiec. Zelda's family was at her father's store when the German tanks rolled down the street. She saw people lying on the ground but didn't understand why. Her mother told her they were dead. Later, the Germans forced her father to close his stores and they were sent to Srodula, the ghetto in Sosnowiec. The Germans seized their valuables and they were moved into a tiny space with other families.

1940-44: On Saturday, June 26, 1943, the Germans assembled Zelda's family in the town square. They pulled her from her family by her hair, telling her, "We will be very good to you. We're going to have a wonderful time." They put Zelda on a cattle car bound for a labor camp at Breslau-Guentherbruecke in Germany. She was assigned to work as a mechanic, but her manager realized she knew nothing about cars. He wanted her killed, but a sympathetic German soldier intervened and the next day she was put on another detail.

Zelda spent two more years in labor camps. She was liberated on May 8, 1945, by the Soviet army. She spent four years in Germany and then immigrated to America in 1949.