Oral History

Yonia Fain describes leaving Warsaw after the German invasion of Poland

After World War I, Yonia's family moved to Vilna. Yonia studied painting and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilna. When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Yonia was living with his wife in Warsaw. They fled to Brest-Litovsk in eastern Poland, occupied by Soviet forces in mid-September 1939. Then Yonia and his wife escaped to Vilna. After the Soviets occupied Vilna in June 1940, Yonia and his wife forged Japanese transit visas and left for Japan. In Japan, they were unable to obtain valid visas for another country and were forced to remain. Japanese authorities required them to relocate to Shanghai in Japanese-occupied China in the fall of 1941. They remained in Shanghai for the duration of the war. In 1948, Yonia and his wife immigrated to Mexico. In 1956, Yonia immigrated to the United States.



  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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