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  • Erich Schon

    ID Card

    Erich was one of five children born to observant Jewish parents. They lived in Vsetin, a town in Czechoslovakia's Moravia region that straddled the border with Slovakia. Some 70 Jewish families lived in the town of 12,500 persons. There, Erich's family owned a grocery store and operated a sawmill. Erich attended a trade school where he became an expert in lumber and forestry. 1933-39: The Germans kept Erich's family's sawmill operating after they occupied their region in March 1939. Since Erich had a…

    Erich Schon
  • Zdenka Popper

    ID Card

    Zdenka was one of four children born to a Jewish family in Kolinec, a southwestern Bohemian town near the German border. Her father was a farmer and a lumber and grain merchant. Situated in the foothills of the Bohemian Forest, Kolinec was surrounded by rolling hills. Zdenka attended business school in the nearby town of Klatovy and, in 1927, moved to Prague with her uncle. 1933-39: Zdenka remembers how worried her mother was about the rise of German antisemitism in 1932. After listening to a radio…

    Zdenka Popper
  • Welek Luksenburg

    ID Card

    Welek grew up in Dabrowa Gornicza, an industrial town in western Poland. His father, Simcha, was a wholesale meat merchant and his mother, Rozalia, served as president of the local chapter of the Women's International Zionist Organization. Welek's older brother, Szlomo, was a dentist. The Luksenburgs were among the several thousand Jews who lived in Dabrowa Gornicza. 1933–39: Like many other children in the town, Welek attended public school. Because his family was very religious, he did not attend…

    Welek Luksenburg
  • Bella Jakubowicz

    ID Card

    Bella was the oldest of four children born to a Jewish family in the small city of Sosnowiec, in Polish Silesia. Her father owned a successful knitting factory. In 1938, when she was 12, Bella began attending a private secondary school. 1933-39: When Bella's family returned from vacation in late August 1939, there were rumors of war. Her mother tried to stock up on food but the stores were already out of staples. The Germans took Sosnowiec on September 4; two weeks later they interned all the Jewish men…

    Bella Jakubowicz
  • Aaron Lejzerowicz

    ID Card

    Aaron was one of four children born to a Jewish family in the northeastern Polish town of Zdzieciol. His father was a shoemaker and, along with a business partner, he also ran a shoe store in the town. Aaron attended a private Jewish school, where he studied the Polish language and history as well as Jewish history and Hebrew. 1933-39: On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Three weeks later, Poland was partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union [under the German-Soviet Pact]. Aaron and his…

    Aaron Lejzerowicz
  • Jakob Frenkiel

    ID Card

    Jakob was one of seven boys in a religious Jewish family. They lived in a town 50 miles west of Warsaw called Gabin, where Jakob's father worked as a cap maker. Gabin had one of Poland's oldest synagogues, built of wood in 1710. Like most of Gabin's Jews, Jakob's family lived close to the synagogue. The family of nine occupied a one-room apartment on the top floor of a three-story building. 1933-39: On September 1, 1939, just a few months before Jakob turned 10, the Germans started a war with Poland.…

    Tags: Auschwitz
    Jakob Frenkiel
  • Jeno Nemeth

    ID Card

    Jeno moved to Szentes from a tiny farming community near the city of Szolnok, where he and his two brothers had been born to Jewish parents. Jeno owned a store that carried groceries and hardware items. He lived in the southeast Hungarian town of Szentes. Jeno and his wife, Juliana, had two married daughters, Barbara and Margit. Their son, Desider, was a dentist in Szentes. 1933-39: Jeno and his wife work hard in their store. The Depression of the 1930s was devastating, but things are starting to get a…

    Tags: Szeged Hungary
    Jeno Nemeth
  • Janina Prot

    ID Card

    Janina's parents had converted from Judaism to Catholicism in the 1920s. When Janina was 4 years old, her parents divorced; Janina left Warsaw and went to live with her father near the Polish town of Radom, while her brother Tomas remained in Warsaw with his mother. Janina, or Jana as she was affectionately known, loved to read. 1933-39: When Jana was 12 she moved back to Warsaw to attend secondary school, and stayed with her mother. A year later, on September 8, 1939, the Germans were bombing Warsaw.…

    Janina Prot
  • Blanka Rothschild describes deportations from the Lodz ghetto

    Oral History

    Blanka was an only child in a close-knit family in Lodz, Poland. Her father died in 1937. After the German invasion of Poland, Blanka and her mother remained in Lodz with Blanka's grandmother, who was unable to travel. Along with other relatives, they were forced into the Lodz ghetto in 1940. There, Blanka worked in a bakery. She and her mother later worked in a hospital in the Lodz ghetto, where they remained until late 1944 when they were deported to the Ravensbrück camp in Germany. From Ravensbrueck,…

    Blanka Rothschild describes deportations from the Lodz ghetto
  • Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes the confiscation of her family's property

    Oral History

    Bella was the oldest of four children born to a Jewish family in Sosnowiec. Her father owned a knitting factory. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, they took over the factory. The family's furniture was given to a German woman. Bella was forced to work in a factory in the Sosnowiec ghetto in 1941. At the end of 1942 the family was deported to the Bedzin ghetto. Bella was deported to the Graeben subcamp of Gross-Rosen in 1943 and to Bergen-Belsen in 1944. She was liberated in April 1945, and…

    Bella Jakubowicz Tovey describes the confiscation of her family's property

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