Oral History

Helen Dreksler Zimm describes obtaining a false birth certificate

Helen was the oldest of three sisters. Her father owned a soap factory. After the Germans attacked Poland in 1939, they took over all Jewish businesses. Helen and her family fled from Lodz to a town between Lodz and Warsaw. After two years, in 1942, Helen's father heard that the Jews in the town to which they had fled were to be deported to labor camps. He bought false papers for Helen and her youngest sister. All three sisters survived the war.


My father was so determined for us to survive. And he was so broad-minded, so much ahead of his time, that he didn't mind even to find the man that I would live with. He didn't care. I could live with it, but as long he can save my life, that's all what matters. He did--the only thing he cared, that we should survive. That's the only mission he had in his life. Like a strike of luck, he knew a lady, her name is Mrs. Kaszusczek, a lovely woman. He befriended her and talked to her and said, "Mrs. Kaszusczek, you know, I know you have a daughter my daughter's name," (like, you know, Helen's name). "Would you...I give you some money. Would you please send me some birth certificates? I say, that would be a wonderful thing of you to do. I'll be forever grateful." That lady was a, what I call a "righteous gentile," be...because she did a beautiful deed, she...she did a great mitzvah [good deed]. She got some money, but the point, the same time she endangered her whole life to be able to help us. This was like a, a miracle of miracles. You have to recognize these righteous people who do, who do good. There are still good people in this world.


  • Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
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