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world war I

  • Moshe Galek

    ID Card

    Moshe was one of eight children born to Jewish parents in Sochocin, a predominantly Catholic village near Warsaw. Moshe was a self-made man, having founded a successful pearl-button factory in the village. While in his thirties, he married Fela Perznianko, the daughter of a prominent attorney from nearby Zakroczym. He brought his new wife to Sochocin, where they raised four daughters. 1933-39: In 1936 the Galeks moved to Warsaw, attracted by the city's cultural life. When Germany invaded Poland on…

    Tags: Poland Warsaw
    Moshe Galek
  • Baruch Aaron Szabasson

    ID Card

    Baruch was known by his family and friends as Buzek. He came from the east central Polish town of Kozienice. Kozienice was a popular vacation spot situated near lakes and a birch forest. Baruch's father worked in the lumber business. 1933-39: Baruch attended public school, and in the afternoons he also went to Jewish religious school. On Friday nights for the sabbath, Baruch would go to his grandparents' house, where his relatives would gather to visit with one another. Baruch would run to his grandfather…

    Baruch Aaron Szabasson
  • Welwel Kisielnicki

    ID Card

    Welwel lived with his wife, Feiga, and their three children in the small, predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn, which was 35 miles east of Warsaw. The Kisielnickis were religious and spoke Yiddish in their home. Welwel was a merchant and often traveled, by horse and wagon, to Warsaw on business. 1933-39: The Kisielnicki family's hopes that the war wouldn't reach Kaluszyn have been shattered. Last week, a German plane flew over their town and dropped a bomb on people waiting in line outside a bakery.…

    Tags: Poland
    Welwel Kisielnicki
  • Esther Morgensztern

    ID Card

    The fourth of five children, Esther was born to Jewish parents living 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. Esther's mother and grandmother ran a newspaper kiosk in the town, and her father worked as a clerk at the town hall. 1933-39: Next year would have been Esther's last year at school, but she won't be able to graduate. War has broken out between Poland and Germany, so the schools have closed. A big battle took place here in Kaluszyn. The town was heavily shelled…

    Esther Morgensztern
  • David Birnbaum

    ID Card

    David, known as Dudek by his family and friends, came from Radom, a city with a large Jewish population. David's family was involved in Zionist activities, and David attended a Jewish religious school every afternoon after returning from public school. His father owned a distillery. 1933-39: The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and Radom was occupied on September 8, 1939. The Germans were seizing Jewish men to work as slave laborers, and the Birnbaum family knew that they might spare those who…

    David Birnbaum
  • Barbara Nemeth Balint

    ID Card

    Barbara was born to a middle-class Jewish family in southeast Hungary. Her father had a store that carried grocery and hardware items. Barbara had a sister named Margit and a brother named Desider. In 1928 Barbara married Istvan Geroe and moved to the town of Torokszentmiklos. Her son, Janos, was born there a year later. 1933-39: In 1933 Barbara divorced and returned with 3-year-old Janos to her parents' home in the town of Szentes. She helped run her parents' store, which was located on a busy inter-city…

    Barbara Nemeth Balint
  • Margit Nemeth Fekete

    ID Card

    Margit was born to a Jewish family in the city of Szentes. In 1919 she married and had a son, Gyorgy. When Gyorgy was still a baby, Margit divorced, but she remarried several years later. Her new husband, Vilmos Fekete, worked as a manager in a large electric company in Ujpest, a suburb of Budapest. Margit settled there and her son stayed in Szentes with his grandparents. 1933-39: Margit and her son saw each other as often as possible. Margit would travel by bus to Szentes to spend the Jewish holidays…

    Margit Nemeth Fekete
  • Margit Morawetz

    ID Card

    When Margit was a baby, her family moved from Austria to Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her father was a banker from a religious Jewish family in Bohemia and her mother came from a Viennese family of Jewish origin. Margit knew many languages: Czech, French, English and German, which she spoke with her family. 1933-39: In 1938, when Margit was 16, attacks on Jews in central Europe escalated and her parents decided she should leave. She left secondary school in Prague and went to Paris, where she studied…

    Tags: Paris France
    Margit Morawetz
  • Manon Marliac

    ID Card

    Manon's Christian parents lived in Paris. Roger Marliac, her father, originally from a wealthy family, supported his family by selling produce at small marketplaces. Margarit, her mother (called Maguy by her friends), had a university degree in science. The family lived in a large apartment in a fashionable neighborhood near the Eiffel Tower. 1933-39: Manon, the Marliacs' second child, was born in 1937. She was 2 years old when her father was drafted into the French army as the country mobilized for a…

    Manon Marliac
  • Mayer List

    ID Card

    Mayer was born into a Jewish family in a village near Warsaw. His family was active there in the workers' movement. They decided to emigrate when Mayer was a child; his father hoped to find work in Argentina. As a young man, Mayer was arrested for being a communist. In prison, he organized a hunger strike. The police released him to keep him from recruiting the other prisoners to communism. 1933-39: Mayer joined one of the International Brigades and went to Spain to fight in the civil war against Franco…

    Mayer List
  • Willem Arondeus

    ID Card

    One of six children, Willem grew up in Amsterdam where his parents were theater costume designers. When Willem was 17, he fought with his parents about his homosexuality. He left home and severed contact with his family. He began writing and painting, and in the 1920s was commissioned to do a mural for the Rotterdam town hall. In 1932 he moved to the countryside near Apeldoorn. 1933-39: When he was 38, Willem met Jan Tijssen, the son of a greengrocer, and they lived together for the next seven years.…

    Tags: resistance
    Willem Arondeus
  • Jolan (Cipi) Katz

    ID Card

    The oldest of eight children, Jolan grew up in a religious Jewish family. She was usually known by her Yiddish nickname, Cipi. After Jolan was born, her parents moved the family to Kisvarda, a town in northeastern Hungary. There she grew up with her four sisters and one surviving brother. Jolan had finished her schooling by 1933. 1933-39: Hitler was popular in Kisvarda. Jolan's mother wanted the family to leave Hungary before the situation worsened, but her father, who had been to the United States…

    Tags: Hungary
    Jolan (Cipi) Katz
  • Warsaw Uprising

    Article

    The 1944 Warsaw uprising was the single largest military effort undertaken by resistance forces to oppose German occupation during World War II.

    Warsaw Uprising
  • Immediate American Responses to the Nazi Book Burnings

    Article

    The Nazi book burnings of 1933 sparked responses from anti-Fascist organizations, Jewish groups, and writers in the United States. Learn more.

    Tags: book burning
    Immediate American Responses to the Nazi Book Burnings
  • Lesbians under the Nazi Regime

    Article

    Beginning in 1933, the Nazi regime harassed and destroyed lesbian communities and networks that had developed during the Weimar Republic.

    Lesbians under the Nazi Regime
  • Jazz musician Valaida Snow

    Film

    In the 1930s, famous Tennessee jazz musician Valaida Snow was known as “Little Louis” because her talent with a trumpet rivaled the legendary Louis Armstrong. She performed around the world, but it was a tour of Europe that would haunt her for the rest of her life.  While in German-occupied Denmark, Snow is said to have been arrested and imprisoned in Copenhagen. It is still unclear why she was arrested or what was done to her while she was held, but after her release in a May 1942 prisoner exchange,…

    Jazz musician Valaida Snow
  • Rwanda: The First Conviction for Genocide

    Article

    The first conviction for the crime of genocide came after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when Jean-Paul Akayesu was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.

    Rwanda: The First Conviction for Genocide
  • The Role of Doctors and Nurses

    Article

    Persecution of Jews and other groups was not solely the result of measures originating with Adolf Hitler and other Nazi zealots. Nazi leaders required the active help or cooperation of professionals working in diver...

    The Role of Doctors and Nurses
  • Karl Marx

    Article

    Karl Marx was a political theorist and philosopher. He published “The Communist Manifesto” with Friedrich Engels. His works were burned in Nazi Germany in 1933.

    Karl Marx
  • Frima L. describes roundup of Jews for mobile killing unit (Einsatzgruppen) massacre

    Oral History

    While Frima's family was confined to a ghetto, Nazis used her father as an interpreter. He later perished. By pretending not to be Jews, Frima, her mother, and sister escaped a German mobile killing unit massacre. They were later discovered and jailed. Again, her mother devised an escape. Frima's mother and sister were smuggled to Romania, while Frima wandered in search of safekeeping until her mother could arrange to smuggle her out. In Romania, they were reunited and liberated.

    Frima L. describes roundup of Jews for mobile killing unit (Einsatzgruppen) massacre
  • Miso (Michael) Vogel describes arrival at Auschwitz

    Oral History

    In 1939, Slovak fascists took over Topol'cany, where Miso lived. In 1942, Miso was deported to the Slovak-run Novaky camp and then to Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, he was tattooed with the number 65,316, indicating that 65,315 prisoners preceded him in that series of numbering. He was forced to labor in the Buna works and then in the Birkenau "Kanada" detachment, unloading incoming trains. In late 1944, prisoners were transferred to camps in Germany. Miso escaped during a death march from Landsberg and was…

    Tags: Auschwitz
    Miso (Michael) Vogel describes arrival at Auschwitz
  • William (Bill) Lowenberg describes conditions in the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands

    Oral History

    As a boy, Bill attended school in Burgsteinfurt, a German town near the Dutch border. After the Nazis came to power in Germany in January 1933, Bill experienced increasing antisemitism and was once attacked on his way to Hebrew school by a boy who threw a knife at him. In 1936, he and his family left Germany for the Netherlands, where they had relatives and thought they would be safe. However, after Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, antisemitic legislation--including the order to wear the Jewish…

    Tags: Westerbork
    William (Bill) Lowenberg describes conditions in the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands
  • William (Bill) Lowenberg describes deportations from the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands

    Oral History

    As a boy, Bill attended school in Burgsteinfurt, a German town near the Dutch border. After the Nazis came to power in Germany in January 1933, Bill experienced increasing antisemitism and was once attacked on his way to Hebrew school by a boy who threw a knife at him. In 1936, he and his family left Germany for the Netherlands, where they had relatives and thought they would be safe. However, after Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, antisemitic legislation—including the order to wear the…

    William (Bill) Lowenberg describes deportations from the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands
  • Alisa (Lisa) Nussbaum Derman describes partisan activities

    Oral History

    Lisa was one of three children born to a religious Jewish family. Following the German occupation of her hometown in 1939, Lisa and her family moved first to Augustow and then to Slonim (in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland). German troops captured Slonim in June 1941, during the invasion of the Soviet Union. In Slonim, the Germans established a ghetto which existed from 1941 to 1942. Lisa eventually escaped from Slonim, and went first to Grodno and then to Vilna, where she joined the resistance movement. She…

    Alisa (Lisa) Nussbaum Derman describes partisan activities
  • Frima L. describes escape from mobile killing unit massacre

    Oral History

    While Frima's family was confined to a ghetto, Nazis used her father as an interpreter. He later perished. By pretending not to be Jews, Frima, her mother, and sister escaped a German mobile killing unit massacre. They were later discovered and jailed. Again, her mother devised an escape. Frima's mother and sister were smuggled to Romania, while Frima wandered in search of safekeeping until her mother could arrange to smuggle her out. In Romania, they were reunited and liberated.

    Frima L. describes escape from mobile killing unit massacre

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