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  • Olga Gelb

    ID Card

    Olga was born to religious Jewish parents in a small city in Ruthenia. The country's easternmost province, Ruthenia had been ruled by Hungary until 1918. One of eight children, Olga grew up in a prosperous home in which both Yiddish and Hungarian were spoken. Her father worked as a wholesale leather merchant. Olga attended both public school and a Hebrew girls' school. 1933-39: Under Czech rule Olga could be religious and not face discrimination at school. Her parents were pleased when Ruthenia became a…

    Olga Gelb
  • Zelda Piekarska

    ID Card

    Zelda was born to a close-knit Jewish family in Sosnowiec, a city in the coal-mining region of Poland. Her father owned a restaurant and also co-owned a chocolate and candy factory. Zelda loved to dance; she was an excellent tap dancer. 1933-39: On September 4, 1939, the Germans entered Sosnowiec. Zelda's family was at her father's store when the German tanks rolled down the street. She saw people lying on the ground but didn't understand why. Her mother told her they were dead. Later, the Germans forced…

    Zelda Piekarska
  • Sophie Weisz

    ID Card

    Sophie was born to a prosperous Jewish family in a village near the Hungarian border known for its winemaking and carriage wheel industries. The village had many Jewish merchants. Her father owned a lumber yard. Sophie loved to dance in the large living room of their home as her older sister, Agnes, played the piano. 1933-39: Sophie's father believed in a Jewish homeland and sent money to Palestine to plant trees and establish settlements there. When she was 10, she was sent to a school in nearby Oradea…

    Sophie Weisz
  • Guta Blass Weintraub

    ID Card

    Guta was born to a Jewish family in the Polish city of Lodz, the nation's second-largest city and the center of its textile industry. Her father, a successful businessman, owned a clothing factory, which produced uniforms for the Polish army. Guta attended a private Jewish school in Lodz. 1933-39: On September 1, 1939, not long after Guta began secondary school, the Germans invaded Poland. Polish soldiers moved quickly through Lodz to defend the border, but a few days later, after being beaten, they came…

    Guta Blass Weintraub
  • Irmgard Rosenberg

    ID Card

    Irmgard was one of three children born to a Jewish family in the famous university city of Goettingen. The city had a small Jewish population, and only one synagogue. Irmgard's father, with his two brothers, owned a linen factory that had been founded by Irmgard's grandfather. Irmgard attended public school in the city. 1933-39: With the onset of the Depression in the 1930s, the family's factory went into decline. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they confiscated the Rosenbergs' factory. Later, the…

    Irmgard Rosenberg
  • Curt Egon Rosenberg

    ID Card

    Curt was the oldest of three children born to a Jewish family in the famous German university city of Goettingen. His father owned a linen factory that had been in the family since it was founded by Curt's grandfather. Goettingen had a small Jewish population, with only one synagogue. Curt attended public school in the city. 1933-39: The Nazis came to power in 1933. A year later, the Rosenbergs' factory was seized and the family was forced to move to Hamburg. Because he was Jewish, Curt was arrested in…

    Curt Egon Rosenberg
  • Alexandra Schicharva

    ID Card

    Alexandra was the second-youngest of six children born to Russian Orthodox parents. Her family lived in a small village in the Orlovskaya region, some 250 miles south of Moscow [in the Soviet Union]. She attended public school, where she learned German. Alexandra's father was a plasterer and painter, and often worked away from home for months. Her mother worked at a collective farm in the village. 1933-39: In 1933 food was scarce. The government seized grain harvests for export; other crops were taken to…

    Tags: Soviet Union
    Alexandra Schicharva
  • Terez Goldberger Kalman

    ID Card

    Terez came from a religious Jewish family. She and her husband, Samuel, raised eight children in Satoraljaujhely, in northeastern Hungary. The Kalmans lived on the outskirts of the city, and in the 1920s they ran a canteen for the soldiers who lived in the nearby barracks. The Kalmans were proud Hungarians; one of their sons had died in World War I. 1933-39: Since Samuel died a few years ago, Terez has been alone here in her house in Satoraljaujhely. Many of her children live nearby, though, so her home…

    Tags: Hungary
    Terez Goldberger Kalman
  • Bela Blau

    ID Card

    Bela's city of Bratislava, located on the banks of the Danube river, had an old and important Jewish community. Bela was the eighth child in his large Jewish family. His father was a furrier. At age 16 Bela began working as a salesman for a textile business. In 1930 he was called up for 18 months of army service. 1933-39: Bela and his wife moved to the Slovakian city of Zilina. Their son was born in November 1937. Bela worked for a German photographic company until 1938, when he lost his job because he…

    Tags: Auschwitz
    Bela Blau
  • Helen Lebowitz

    ID Card

    Helen was one of seven children born to a Jewish family in Volosyanka, a town in Trans-Carpathian Ruthenia. Nestled in the Carpathian mountains, Volosyanka was a small town with a sizable Jewish community. Jewish life revolved around the town's synagogue. Helen grew up in a close-knit family; many relatives lived nearby. Her father owned a shoe store in the town. 1933-39: When Helen was 11 years old, Hungary occupied the Transcarpathian region. At once, Jews were prohibited from holding government…

    Helen Lebowitz

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