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  • Yosel Coller

    ID Card

    One of six children, Yosel was raised in a religious Jewish family in Lodz, an industrial city in western Poland. His father was a businessman. At the age of 6, Yosel began attending a Jewish day school. His two older sisters attended public school in the morning and religious school in the afternoon. Yosel spent much of his free time playing soccer with his brothers. 1933-39: Yosel's family lived in a modest house in the northern section of Lodz. He went to a Jewish day school and had many friends there.…

    Yosel Coller
  • Benjamin Bornstein

    ID Card

    Benjamin and his younger brother Zigmush were born to Jewish parents in the industrial city of Lodz. Lodz was Poland's second biggest city before the war, and one-third of its inhabitants were Jewish. Benjamin's father, Moshe, owned a candle factory, and his mother, Brona, was a nurse. 1933-39: In 1939, as Benjamin began the third grade, the Germans occupied Lodz. Jews were forbidden to ride buses, and were ordered to wear yellow stars. Because the Germans sometimes grabbed Jews off the streets for forced…

    Benjamin Bornstein
  • Herschel Rosenblat

    ID Card

    Herschel was the youngest of three sons born to Yiddish-speaking Jewish parents. When Herschel was a child, his family moved to Radom, an industrial city which had a large Jewish population. By 1930, Herschel had finished his schooling and was helping in his father's shoemaking business. With the help of a friend, he later found a full-time job as a house painter. 1933-39: Herschel's career as a painter was interrupted for two years when he was drafted into the Polish cavalry at the age of 20. When…

    Tags: Poland Slonim
    Herschel Rosenblat
  • Gerda Blachmann

    ID Card

    Gerda was an only child of Jewish parents. They lived in Breslau, a large industrial city on the Oder River. Before World War II, Breslau's Jewish community was the third largest in Germany. Her father worked as a salesman for a large hardware and building materials company. Gerda attended public school until age 9 when she was admitted to a Catholic girls' school. 1933-39: Gerda walked through the city to see the aftermath of a pogrom. The windows of Jewish shops had been shattered. A torched synagogue…

    Tags: refugees
    Gerda Blachmann
  • Ruth (Huppert) Elias

    ID Card

    Ruth grew up in Moravska Ostrava, a city in the region of Moravia with the third-largest Jewish community in Czechoslovakia. When Ruth was a child her parents divorced. She and her sister, Edith, moved in with their paternal grandmother and then with their uncle, but they kept in close contact with their father. Ruth trained to be a pianist and hoped to attend a musical academy in Prague. 1933-39: In March 1939 Bohemia and Moravia were occupied by the Germans and declared a German protectorate. That fall,…

    Ruth (Huppert) Elias
  • Jacob Wasserman

    ID Card

    Jacob was the eldest of three sons born to religious Jewish parents in the city of Krakow. His father was a flour merchant. The Wassermans spent summer vacations near Proszowice at a farm owned by their grandfather, who also ran a flour mill. 1933-39: In March 1939, at the age of 13, Jacob celebrated his bar-mitzvah. That summer, his family vacationed as usual at his grandfather's farm. They returned to a nightmare. Krakow had been occupied by the Germans on September 6. Jews were not allowed to walk on…

    Jacob Wasserman
  • Hersh Gordon

    ID Card

    Hersh was born to a Jewish family in Kovno, the capital of independent Lithuania. Hersh's father was a mechanic in a textile factory, and his mother had worked as a hat designer until he was born. The Gordons lived on the first floor of Hersh's grandfather's apartment building. Eight-year-old Hersh was in the third grade at public elementary school. 1933-39: In the summers Hersh and his mother would go to his Aunt Ettel and Uncle Abraham in a small town not far away. They'd take a boat down the river to…

    Hersh Gordon
  • Mendel Rozenblit

    ID Card

    Mendel was one of six children born to a religious Jewish family. When Mendel was in his early 20s, he married and moved with his wife to her hometown of Wolomin, near Warsaw. One week after the Rozenblits' son, Avraham, was born, Mendel's wife died. Distraught after the death of his young wife and left to care for a baby, Mendel married his sister-in-law Perele. 1933-39: In Wolomin Mendel ran a lumber yard. In 1935 the Rozenblits had a daughter, Tovah. When Avraham and Tovah were school age, they began…

    Mendel Rozenblit
  • Szlamach Radoszynski

    ID Card

    Szlamach was one of six children born to Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish parents. Szlamach's father was a peddler, and the Radoszynski family lived in a modest apartment in Warsaw's Praga section on the east bank of the Vistula River. After completing his schooling at the age of 16, Szlamach apprenticed to become a furrier. 1933-39: During the 1930s Szlamach owned a fur business. Despite the Depression, he was hoping the economy would turn around so that he could make enough money to move into his own…

    Szlamach Radoszynski
  • Mina Beker

    ID Card

    Mina, born Mina Friedman, was the youngest of four daughters born to a Jewish family in the Lithuanian town of Jonava. At the age of 18, Mina married Osser Beker, a lumber dealer. The couple settled in Jonava where Mina worked as a seamstress. The Bekers had two sons and two daughters, but their oldest son died in a childhood accident. 1933-39: Mina's son Abe attended a Jewish religious school in Jonava. But since Mina had received an extensive Jewish education, she decided to teach her daughters at home.…

    Mina Beker

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