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  • Gideon Boissevain

    ID Card

    Gideon was known affectionately as "Gi" by his family and friends. His parents were descended from the Huguenots, French Protestants who came to the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gi had two brothers and two sisters, and his father worked in the insurance business. 1933-39: Gi had a large circle of friends, both Christians and Jews, and after school they all liked to get together. He and his friends enjoyed taking bike trips, having parties, and playing records. In the mid-1930s his parents…

    Gideon Boissevain
  • Sam Itzkowitz describes forced labor in the Makow ghetto

    Oral History

    The Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. When Makow was occupied, Sam fled to Soviet territory. He returned to Makow for provisions, but was forced to remain in the ghetto. In 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz. As the Soviet army advanced in 1944, Sam and other prisoners were sent to camps in Germany. The inmates were put on a death march early in 1945. American forces liberated Sam after he escaped during a bombing raid.

    Sam Itzkowitz describes forced labor in the Makow ghetto
  • Fela Warschau describes the Feldafing displaced persons camp

    Oral History

    Fela was liberated at Bergen-Belsen by the British army in 1945. She went to a displaced persons (DP) camp administered by the Americans in Feldafing, near Munich. She married in the DP camp in 1946, and eventually immigrated to the United States.

    Fela Warschau describes the Feldafing displaced persons camp
  • Edwarda Kleinfeld Rorat describes emotions upon liberation

    Oral History

    After the German invasion in 1939, Edwarda and her family left Warsaw and moved to a small village near Lublin. Her parents were murdered by German soldiers in 1942. Edwarda was eventually taken in by the Rorat family. The Rorats owned a village store. She lived under their protection throughout the war and continued to live with them after liberation. She completed her education in Poland and later immigrated to the United States.

    Tags: liberation
    Edwarda Kleinfeld Rorat describes emotions upon liberation
  • Soviet and US Troops Meet at Torgau

    Timeline Event

    April 25, 1945. On this date, Soviet and American troops met at Torgau, Germany.

    Soviet and US Troops Meet at Torgau
  • Zigmond Adler

    ID Card

    Zigmond's parents were Czechoslovakian Jews who had emigrated to Belgium. His mother, Rivka, was a shirtmaker. She had come to Belgium as a young woman to find a steady job, following her older brother, Jermie, who had moved his family to Liege several years earlier. In Liege, Rivka met and married Otto Adler, a businessman. The couple looked forward to raising a family. 1933-39: Zigmond was born to the Adlers in 1936, but his mother died one year later. His father remarried, but the marriage didn't last.…

    Zigmond Adler
  • Gitla Zoberman

    ID Card

    Gitla was the second-youngest of four girls born to observant Jewish parents. They made their home in Sandomierz, a predominantly Catholic town on the Vistula River. Her father owned a small bookstore across from the town hall, selling school texts and novels. Gitla attended public school before enrolling in a Catholic girls' high school. In the winter, Gitla enjoyed skating on the Vistula. 1933-39: In 1937 Gitla moved to Katowice, a large town on the Polish-German border. There, she enrolled in a…

    Gitla Zoberman
  • Gerda Weissmann

    ID Card

    Gerda was born to a Jewish middle-class family in Bielsko, Poland, a town noted for its textile industry. She began her education in Polish public school, but later entered a Catholic girls school. A rabbi was permitted to come into the school and instruct the Jewish students in religious studies. 1933-39: On Friday, September 1, 1939, German fighter planes appeared overhead, causing many people to flee the city. Gerda's family remained and lived through the intense shelling that followed on Sunday…

    Gerda Weissmann
  • 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
  • Abraham Lewent describes hunger and death in the Warsaw ghetto

    Oral History

    Like other Jews, the Lewents were confined to the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942, as Abraham hid in a crawl space, the Germans seized his mother and sisters in a raid. They perished. He was deployed for forced labor nearby, but escaped to return to his father in the ghetto. In 1943, the two were deported to Majdanek, where Abraham's father died. Abraham later was sent to Skarzysko, Buchenwald, Schlieben, Bisingen, and Dachau. US troops liberated Abraham as the Germans evacuated prisoners.

    Tags: ghettos Warsaw
    Abraham Lewent describes hunger and death in the Warsaw ghetto

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