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  • Onti Lazar

    ID Card

    Onti, the youngest of five sons, was born to religious Jewish parents in northern Transylvania, a region of Romania that had belonged to Hungary until 1918. Onti's family usually called him Usher, which was the diminutive of his Yiddish name, Anschel. As a little boy, he liked collecting figurines. Though Onti grew up in a Hungarian-speaking home, he attended Romanian public schools. 1933-39: At age 13 Onti quit school to help make ends meet. He wanted to become a watchmaker, but he settled on working as…

    Onti Lazar
  • Felicia Karo

    ID Card

    Felicia grew up in a Jewish family living in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood in the large, industrial city of Lodz. Her father's side of the family had lived in Poland for 400 years. He was the principal of a Jewish secondary school for boys. Known affectionately by family and friends as Lusia, Felicia attended a bilingual Jewish school in which both Hebraic and Polish subjects were taught. 1933-39: When Felicia was 12 she heard a lot of bad things about the Nazis. A Polish-born German Jewish…

    Felicia Karo
  • Josel Gerszonowicz

    ID Card

    The oldest of eight children, Josel was born in Miechow, a small town in south central Poland. His father was a machinist and locksmith. As a boy, Josel spent long days learning Hebrew in the Jewish school and taking general subjects at the public school. He was 13 years old when he left school to work in his father's shop. 1933-39: Josel met his wife, Esther, through a matchmaker, and they settled in nearby Dzialoszyce, a town with a Jewish community of about 7,000, and a beautiful synagogue that had…

    Josel Gerszonowicz
  • Frieda Greinegger

    ID Card

    Frieda was the fourth of five children born to strict Catholic parents. She had one brother and three sisters. Frieda grew up on a large farm near the village of Michaelnbach in northern Austria. The farm had cattle, horses, pigs and poultry, and the children worked long hours helping their parents on the farm. At age 12, Frieda left school to work full time on the farm. 1933-39: Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. When war broke out in September 1939, Frieda's brother was drafted into the German army.…

    Frieda Greinegger
  • Iosif Kirzhner

    ID Card

    Iosif was the second of four boys born to a Jewish family in the southern Ukrainian port of Odessa, a city with the largest Jewish community in the Soviet Union before World War II. Iosif's father worked as a hat maker, while his mother raised the family. 1933-39: In 1936 Iosif joined the Red Army and was trained to drive a tank. After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the Soviet Union took advantage of its nonaggression pact with the Germans to claim Finnish territory. The Finns resisted them…

    Iosif Kirzhner
  • Morris Kornberg

    ID Card

    Morris was the youngest of six children born to a religious Jewish family in Przedborz, a south central Polish town with a large Jewish population. Morris' family owned a business that supplied nearby factories with raw metal materials. 1933-39: When Germany invaded Poland in early September 1939 Morris and his family fled to the woods. They returned a few days later; most of the town had been burned down. The Nazis set up a ghetto and ordered everyone age 13 to 50 to report for work details. His family…

    Morris Kornberg
  • Semyon Menyuk

    ID Card

    Semyon was born to a Jewish family in the small village of Komarovo in Polish Ukraine. His parents were farmers and tended their own fields while managing the estate of a Polish landowner who lived in Warsaw. Of the estimated 200 families living in Komarovo, only five were Jewish. 1933-39: Since there was no Jewish school in their town, Semyon's parents sent him to the nearby city of Sarny to study. He finished school in 1938 and returned to Komarovo to help his parents with their farm. But in September…

    Semyon Menyuk
  • Hetty d'Ancona

    ID Card

    Hetty was the only child of a middle-class secular Jewish family. Hetty's parents were Sephardic, the descendants of Jews who had been expelled from Spain in 1492. The family lived in an apartment above her father's clothing business. Hetty's grandparents and other relatives lived nearby. 1933-39: Hetty enjoyed growing up in the Netherlands. Her Jewish neighborhood was in the older part of Amsterdam, in the city center. When she was 6 years old, she began attending a public school. Everywhere in Amsterdam…

    Hetty d'Ancona
  • 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
  • Max Liebster

    ID Card

    Max was one of three children born to a Jewish family living in a small town in the Hessian part of Germany. His father was originally from Poland. After eight years of public education, Max completed three years of business school and learned to become a window decorator. In 1929 he found work in Viernheim, a village near Mannheim. 1933-39: Max worked for a clothing store where he was in charge of window dressing. Except for the weekends when there were Nazi marches, life was quiet in Viernheim. Right…

    Max Liebster

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