Oral History

Sophie Turner-Zaretsky describes how her teddy bear was given his name

Sophie was born Selma Schwarzwald to parents Daniel and Laura in the industrial city of Lvov, two years before Germany invaded Poland. Daniel was a successful businessman who exported timber and Laura had studied economics. The Germans occupied Lvov in 1941. After her father's disappearance on her fifth birthday in 1941, Sophie and her mother procured false names and papers and moved to a small town called Busko-Zdroj. They became practicing Catholics to hide their identities. Sophie gradually forgot that she was Jewish. It was not until after their liberation and move to London that Sophie learned the truth about her past.


This teddy bear came with me to England. The doll didn't...didn't make it, I don't know what happened to it. And the teddy bear ended up having, my aunt made him a little coat. She sewed it by hand from some other piece of clothing that was being discarded. And my great-aunt with whom we lived used to crochet and she did a little cap. I don't think she did it for the bear, she must have been testing some yarn or something, but anyway, it fit just on his head, so he had a hat and a coat. And he looked a little bedraggled and a little, you know, like a refugee. This is why we, we named him "Refugee" because he looked a little down-and-out. Just like the rest of us.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

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