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  • Walter Szczeniak

    ID Card

    Walter was the oldest of eight children born to Polish-Catholic immigrant parents in a town near Boston, Massachusetts. The family moved back to Poland when Walter was a child, and lived on a family farm near Ostroleka in northern Poland that Walter's mother had inherited. Because his father's American nickname was "Stetson," Walter was mistakenly registered as "Charles Stetson" on his American birth certificate. 1933-39: After Walter completed secondary school, his father sent him to the University of…

    Tags: Auschwitz
    Walter Szczeniak
  • Hinda Chilewicz

    ID Card

    Hinda was the eldest of three children in a comfortable middle class Jewish family. Her father owned a textile business in Sosnowiec and her mother attended to the home. Sosnowiec in southwestern Poland had a growing Jewish community of almost 30,000 people. There was a Jewish hospital as well as religious schools. 1933–39: Hinda was just 13 years old when German troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Three days later, they occupied Sosnowiec and terrorized the Jewish community, killing over a…

    Hinda Chilewicz
  • Elias (Elya) Grosmann

    ID Card

    Elias was born in a small town in the hill country of northeastern Slovakia. His family was Jewish, and he grew up in a religious home in which both Yiddish and Hungarian were spoken. His father was a peddler and his mother ran a small general store. Besides attending public schools, Elias received a formal Jewish education and attended Medzilaborce's rabbinical academy. 1933-39: The townspeople were mostly Jewish and worried about Nazi Germany. The German annexation of Austria in March 1938 alarmed them.…

    Elias (Elya) Grosmann
  • Elsa (Eliska) Skutezka Kulkova

    ID Card

    Elsa was the eldest of three children born to Jewish parents in Brno, the capital of Moravia, where her father ran a successful shipping company. In 1920 she graduated from a German-language secondary school. She married and moved to Bratislava, but the marriage was unsuccessful and Elsa returned to Brno in 1926, where she opened a millinery business. 1933-39: On May 24, 1933, Elsa married Robert Kulka and the couple settled in Robert's hometown of Olomouc. Their son, Tomas, was born a year and a day…

    Elsa (Eliska) Skutezka Kulkova
  • Lidia Lebowitz

    ID Card

    The younger of two sisters, Lidia was born to Jewish parents living in Sarospatak, a small town in northeastern Hungary. Lidia's parents owned a successful dry goods business. At the time, ready-made clothes were still rare in the countryside. Townspeople and local farmers would purchase fabric at the Lebowitz store and then take it to their tailor or seamstress to be sewn into clothes. 1933-39: Lidia was 2 when her Aunt Sadie, who had immigrated to the United States many years earlier, came to visit…

    Lidia Lebowitz
  • Ema Schwarzova Skutezka

    ID Card

    One of two children born to religious Jewish parents, Ema was raised in the small Moravian town of Lomnice, where her mother ran a general store. In 1901 Ema married Eduard Skutecky, a regular customer at her mother's store. The couple settled in the city of Brno, where they raised three children. Eduard ran a shipping company. 1933-39: By 1933 Ema's three children were grown and had moved out. Four years later her husband passed away, and Ema moved in with her eldest daughter, Elsa. Elsa and her husband…

    Ema Schwarzova Skutezka
  • Siegfried Wohlfarth

    ID Card

    The elder of two sons of religious German-Jewish parents, Siegfried grew up in the city of Frankfurt. Upon completing his education, he became a certified public accountant in Frankfurt. In his free time he worked as a freelance music critic. While on a vacation in 1932 on the North Sea island of Norderney, he met Herta Katz, a young woman with whom he quickly fell in love. 1933-39: The Nazis had fired Siegfried from his government job because he was Jewish. Although his mother opposed the match,…

    Siegfried Wohlfarth
  • Karl Gorath

    ID Card

    Karl was born in the small town of Bad Zwishenahn in northern Germany. When he was 2, his family moved to the port of Bremerhaven. His father was a sailor and his mother became a nurse in a local hospital. After his father died, Karl continued to live with his mother. Karl was 20 when he began training as a deacon at his parish church. 1933-39: Karl was 26 when his jealous lover denounced him and he was arrested at his house under paragraph 175 of the criminal code, which defined homosexuality as an…

    Karl Gorath
  • Franz Wohlfahrt

    ID Card

    The eldest of six children born to Catholic parents, Franz was raised in a village in the part of Austria known as Carinthia. His father was a farmer and quarryman. Disillusioned with Catholicism, his parents became Jehovah's Witnesses during Franz's childhood and raised their children in their new faith. As a teenager, Franz was interested in painting and skiing. 1933-39: Franz was apprenticed to be a house painter and decorator. After Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938, like other Jehovah's…

    Franz Wohlfahrt
  • Renee Schwalb

    ID Card

    Vienna, home to some 175,000 Jews before World War II, was a major center of European Jewry. Vienna was also the intellectual heart of the Palestine resettlement movement. Most of the city's Jews lived in two large districts on the east side of the Danube Canal. Renee's father owned a prosperous men's clothing store in the city. 1933-39: German forces occupied Austria in March 1938. Anti-Jewish measures were quickly imposed. Renee's father was prohibited from doing business and his store was seized. He…

    Renee Schwalb
  • Frida Adler

    ID Card

    Frida was the eldest of three daughters born to Jewish parents in a village in the easternmost province of Czechoslovakia. When Frida was 2, her parents moved to Liege, Belgium, a largely Catholic industrial city with many immigrants from eastern Europe. Frida attended Belgian public schools and grew up speaking French. 1933-39: In Liege Frida's family lived in an apartment above a cafe and across the street from a Catholic church. Frida had many Catholic girlfriends at school. At home she spoke Yiddish…

    Frida Adler
  • Lucien-Louis Bunel

    ID Card

    Lucien was the fourth of eight children born to poor Catholic parents in a small town in northwestern France. Lucien began his seminary studies in nearby Rouen at the age of 12. Following two years of military service, he resumed his religious studies in 1922 and was ordained as a priest three years later. He joined the Carmelite religious order in 1931, and became Father Jacques. 1933-39: In 1934 Father Jacques moved to the town of Avon, where he established a boys' school,…

    Lucien-Louis Bunel
  • Morris Zaidband

    ID Card

    Morris was one of five children born to a Jewish family in the Polish town of Oswiecim, 33 miles west of Cracow [Krakow]. Morris' father sold ladies' undergarments. Morris worked as a jeweler. 1933-39: In September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. Morris's family started to flee eastward but two weeks later the Germans overtook them and they were sent home. When they returned, the Germans were already beating Jews who didn't show them "respect." One day, when German guards came to their house to deport…

    Morris Zaidband
  • Yakov Biber

    ID Card

    Yakov was the youngest of four children born to a poor religious Jewish family in the village of Matsiov in Ukraine. Six years after Yakov was born, Matsiov was ceded to Poland. When Yakov was 14 his mother died and he had to quit school in order to work. Yakov was a Zionist and hoped to settle in Palestine [Yishuv]. 1933-39: In the Young Pioneers, a Zionist group, Yakov directed the dramatic productions the group put on to raise money for the Zionist cause. It was in the Young Pioneers that he met Chava,…

    Tags: Ukraine
    Yakov Biber
  • Manon Marliac

    ID Card

    Manon's Christian parents lived in Paris. Roger Marliac, her father, originally from a wealthy family, supported his family by selling produce at small marketplaces. Margarit, her mother (called Maguy by her friends), had a university degree in science. The family lived in a large apartment in a fashionable neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower. 1933-39: Manon, the Marliacs' second child, was born in 1937. She was 2 years old when her father was drafted into the French army as the country mobilized for a…

    Manon Marliac
  • Selma Schwarzwald

    ID Card

    Both of Selma's Jewish parents, Daniel Schwarzwald and Laura Litwak, had been raised in the industrial city of Lvov. As many different nationalities lived in Lvov, Selma's mother and father could speak many languages--Polish, Russian, German and Yiddish. In running his successful lumber business, Daniel also occasionally used English. 1933-39: Selma's parents married in April 1935 and she was born two years later. Her father was afraid that there might be a war and wanted to move the family to safety in…

    Selma Schwarzwald
  • Pawel Wos

    ID Card

    Pawel, a Roman Catholic, fled to Danzig, Germany, in 1914 to avoid conscription in the Russian army. Since Germany and Russia were at war, Pawel was arrested by the Germans as an enemy alien and sent to work on a farm in northern Germany. He met Anna Szachowska there, and they married in 1918. The couple moved to Warsaw where they raised 4 children. In 1930 Pawel opened a textile business. 1933-39: Despite the Depression, Pawel's business prospered and they expanded their operations. In 1938 some friends…

    Pawel Wos
  • Refugees Today

    Article

    As of mid-2022, there were about 27 million refugees. Learn more about these refugees, the violence they face, and the global impact of the refugee crisis.

    Refugees Today
  • Atrocities against Burma's Rohingya Population

    Article

    The Burmese military has targeted the Rohingya people because of their ethnic and religious identity. The military’s actions constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. Learn more

    Atrocities against Burma's Rohingya Population
  • Dismissal letter from the Berlin transit authority

    Document

    A letter written by the Berlin transit authority (Berliner Verkehrs Aktiengesellschaft) to Viktor Stern, informing him of his dismissal from his post with their agency as of September 20, 1933. This action was taken to comply with provisions of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. On April 7, the German government issued the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums), which excluded Jews and political opponents…

    Dismissal letter from the Berlin transit authority
  • Letter home from an American soldier about the end of World War II in Europe

    Document

    Rudolph Daniel Sichel (b. 1915) left Germany in 1934 for England and then immigrated to the United States in 1936. His father, who had remained in Germany, was arrested during Kristallnacht, sent to Buchenwald for a couple of months, forced to sell his store at a loss, and immigrated to the United States with Rudolph's mother shortly after. Sichel joined the US Army in 1943, attending courses at the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, MD. He landed on Utah Beach in July 1944 and was…

    Letter home from an American soldier about the end of World War II in Europe
  • Hajj Amin al-Husayni meets Hitler

    Film

    In this German propaganda newsreel, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, an Arab nationalist and prominent Muslim religious leader, meets Hitler for the first time. During the meeting, held in in the Reich chancellery, Hitler declined to grant al-Husayni’s request for a public statement--or a secret but formal treaty--in which Germany would: 1) pledge not to occupy Arab land, 2) recognize Arab striving for independence, and 3) support the “removal” of the proposed Jewish homeland in…

    Hajj Amin al-Husayni meets Hitler
  • Leopold Page describes meeting German industrialist Oskar Schindler

    Oral History

    Leopold was a teacher in Krakow, Poland, when World War II began in 1939. While serving in the Polish army, he was captured by Germans. Leopold escaped from a prisoner-of-war transport. Soon after, he met the German industrialist Oskar Schindler. The two became friends. Leopold was forced to live in the Krakow ghetto. He later worked in Schindler's factory in Bruennlitz. He and the other Jews who worked there were treated relatively well and protected from the Nazis. After the war, Leopold moved to the…

    Leopold Page describes meeting German industrialist Oskar Schindler
  • Elie Wiesel Timeline and World Events: 1928–1951

    Article

    Survivor Elie Wiesel devoted his life to educating the world about the Holocaust. Learn about key events in the world and his life from 1928–1951.

    Elie Wiesel Timeline and World Events: 1928–1951
  • Elie Wiesel Timeline and World Events: From 1952

    Article

    Survivor Elie Wiesel devoted his life to educating the world about the Holocaust. Explore key events in the world and his life from 1952 until his death in 2016.

    Elie Wiesel Timeline and World Events: From 1952

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