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  • Kalman Kernweiss

    ID Card

    Kalman was the oldest of ten children born to poor, devout Jewish parents in a small village in south central Poland. His father supported the family by buying chickens, eggs and vegetables from the peasants and selling them at the Kolbuszowa market a few miles away. Kalman walked to Kolbuszowa each day to attend public school in the morning and religious school in the afternoon. 1933-39: In 1933 Kalman was accepted to study at a renowned rabbinical institute in Lublin. When there was time, he taught…

    Kalman Kernweiss
  • Abraham Bergman

    ID Card

    Abraham was born to a Jewish family in Krasnik, a town in the Lublin district of Poland. The town had a large Jewish population. Abraham's father was a tailor. When Abraham was 2, his mother died and he was raised by his grandmother. At the age of 7, Abraham started public school. 1933-39: Abraham liked school but found it difficult. The Christian children often yelled at the Jews, "You killed our God." One year, on the day before Christmas break, some kids brought ropes tied to iron weights to school.…

    Tags: Lublin
    Abraham Bergman
  • Eugeniusz Rozenblum

    ID Card

    Eugeniusz's parents married in 1922 in the Soviet Union, where his father owned a textile mill. Fearing arrest by the Soviets for being "bourgeois," Eugeniusz's parents fled to Poland, where Eugeniusz was born. 1933-39: Eugeniusz was a secondary school student and was preparing to enter university, either in Poland or at the Hebrew University in Palestine. The German occupation of Lodz in September 1939 interrupted his schooling. One month after the occupation, a German soldier came to his family's door…

    Tags: Lodz Dachau
    Eugeniusz Rozenblum
  • 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
  • Yitzhak (Irving) Balsam

    ID Card

    Yitzhak was the second of four children born to religious Jewish parents. The family lived on the Polish-German border in Praszka, a small town where Yitzhak's father worked as a tailor. His work was not steady, and the family struggled to make ends meet. Yitzhak attended Polish public school in the mornings and Hebrew school in the afternoons. 1933-39: At 4 a.m. on September 1, 1939, the Balsams were awakened by an explosion. The Polish army had blown up the bridge over the Prosna River to impede the…

    Yitzhak (Irving) Balsam
  • David Bayer

    ID Card

    David was the second of four children born to religious Jewish parents in Kozienice, a town in southeastern Poland. His father, Manes, owned a shoe factory that supplied stores throughout the country. His mother, Sarah, took care of the home and children, and helped in the factory. Kozienice had a thriving Jewish community that constituted over half of the town's population. 1933–39: For most of the 1930s, David spent his days going to school, playing sports, and working in his father's shoe factory.…

    David Bayer
  • Ruth Elisabeth Dahl

    ID Card

    Ruth was born into an orthodox Jewish family in Geilenkirchen, a rural German town near the Dutch border. Her father, Isidor, was a respected cattle dealer in the area and her mother, Sophia, took care of the home. Ruth had two older siblings, Edith and Carl. 1933–39: When the Nazis came to power in Germany, life changed in Geilenkirchen. The townspeople supported the new regime and nobody helped their Jewish neighbors. Excluded from public institutions, Ruth attended a private Catholic school. In 1938,…

    Ruth Elisabeth Dahl
  • Inge Berg

    ID Card

    Inge lived with her parents, grandparents, uncle, and younger sister, Gisella, in Lechenich, a small village outside Cologne. The Bergs were an observant Jewish family. Inge's grandfather was the president of the local synagogue association and her uncle was the cantor. Her father, Josef was a respected cattle dealer, who had many business and personal contacts with their Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors. 1933–39: In 1935, two years after the Nazis came to power, Inge was forced to leave public school in…

    Inge Berg
  • Werner Katzenstein

    ID Card

    Werner was raised in the rural German town of Herleshausen, where his family owned a farming supply business. His father sold seeds to local farmers and purchased their grain, while his mother ran the office. After several years of public schooling in Herleshausen, Werner began attending a high school in Eisenach, some 12 miles from their home. The Katzensteins were one of about two dozen Jewish families living in the area. 1933–39: When the Nazis came to power in January 1933, the Katzensteins' lives…

    Tags: Germany
    Werner Katzenstein
  • Kato Fried

    ID Card

    Kato was born to Jewish parents in Smolnik, a small village in eastern Czechoslovakia. While still a young child, she moved with her parents and brother Theodore to Sighet, Romania. There in the Carpathian mountains, her father ran a lumber business that exported wood to Germany and Czechoslovakia. 1933–39: In the 1930s, the popular appeal of antisemitism and fascism increased in Romania. Leaders of the Iron Guard, the militant and violent Romanian fascist party, publicly proclaimed their support for…

    Kato Fried

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