Lila Lam

Lila Lam

Born: November 24, 1924

Stanislawow, Poland

Lila was born to a Jewish family in the largely Jewish city of Stanislawow. The Lam family owned an oil field and refinery, and Lila's father, who was trained as a lawyer, helped to manage the business. When it came time for Lila to begin first grade, her parents decided to have her tutored privately at home rather than have her attend an elementary school.

1933-39: The Jewish holidays were always special times. Although Lila's family wasn't religious, the holidays were wonderful opportunities for her five aunts and uncles and all of her cousins to gather at her grandfather's house. In 1939, when she was 15, the war broke out and Soviet troops invaded Stanislawow. Her final two years of secondary school were spent in a Soviet school.

1940-44: German troops invaded Lila's town and established a ghetto in 1941. By summer 1942 Lila, her mother, brother and uncle escaped and, using bribes, got to Warsaw. Each Sunday they'd leave their house and pretend they were going to church. One Sunday, as Lila and her mother went out, they were stopped by a Polish policeman, who said he suspected that they were Jews. For a fee, he agreed not to turn them in. When her mother ran to fetch the money, he dragged Lila to a house and tried to rape her. Luckily, he let her go.

During the August 1944 Warsaw uprising, Lila was among the Polish civilians deported to concentration camps. After the war, she lived in Poland.

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