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Jewish Journal

Jane Ulman

  • Survivor: Masza Rosenroth

    1 week ago

    Masza Rosenroth (née Czechanowska) stood with her two younger sisters, Gutia, 14, and Surra, 11, in the courtyard of the Lodz ghetto, amid hundreds of other residents who’d been ordered to assemble for yet another selection. It was September 1942. As Masza, then just 16, waited,...

  • Witnesses to Iraq’s Farhud

    May 20, 2015 | 2:42 pm

    Over the first two days of June 1941, countless numbers of Jewish women in Baghdad were raped, more than 2,000 Jews were injured — many of them mutilated — and 900 homes, as well as 586 Jewish-owned businesses, were looted. All told, according to Iraqi-born historian Elie Kedourie,...

  • Effy (Efraim) Pfeffermann

    May 20, 2015 | 11:50 am

    On a December day in 1941, 9-year-old Effy Pfeffermann, along with his stepfather and mother, Jacob and Rachel Singer, each carrying a small suitcase, quietly slipped out of their two-bedroom apartment in Timisoara, Romania, deliberately leaving the lights on. They boarded a train...

  • Survivor: Kalman Aron

    April 30, 2015 | 2:32 am

    On a June day in 1941, Kalman Aron, then 17, hurried with his parents and older brother to Riga’s railway station, hoping they’d be able to escape to the Soviet Union before the Germans occupied Latvia. But as they neared the station, they saw Latvian soldiers machine-gunning the...

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  • Josef Kreitenberg

    April 15, 2015 | 2:57 pm

    As the transport from Tacova, Czechoslovakia (then called Tecso, Hungary), pulled up to the Birkenau platform in late May 1944, the doors of the cattle cars slammed open. “Raus, raus,” the SS shouted, directing those fit for work into separate men’s and women’s lines. The others,...

  • Aaron M. Cohen

    April 2, 2015 | 5:23 pm

    “Get your things. Let’s go,” the policemen ordered. Aaron (then Henri) Cohen, his parents and his younger brother gathered some belongings from their apartment in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and began walking toward the Jewish school, about a mile away. There, about 600, Aaron estimates, of...

  • Survivor: Guta Peck

    March 18, 2015 | 12:30 pm

    Guta Peck nee Kasz was sitting on the sole latrine inside her Auschwitz barracks one evening in early September 1944, when a drunken SS soldier picked her up. He carried her the length of the overcrowded building — “You become like a stone; there’s no way out,” she recalled — to...

  • Survivor: Ralph Hakman

    March 4, 2015 | 11:17 am

    Ralph Hakman was hiding in a barely noticeable house, almost a shack, when he was discovered by his mother. “You have to turn yourself in to the police,” Rose instructed her 17-year-old son, then known as Rachmil. Three days earlier, sometime in May 1942, Ralph’s father, Yitzhak,...

  • Survivor: Morris Price

    February 18, 2015 | 11:02 am

    “You remain,” the SS soldier said, pointing at Morris Price  — then Moniek Prajs — instructing him to wait in the open truck that had just arrived at Birkenau from the Krakow ghetto. “You get off,” the soldier told another prisoner. Soon, as the soldier continued to shout commands,...

  • Survivor: Jean Greenstein

    February 4, 2015 | 11:31 am

    At 5 o’clock one morning in April 1944, Jean Greenstein — ne Egon Grünstein — heard the bell ringing at the front gate of his family’s home in Velky Sevlus, Czechoslovakia. Soon, two or three SS troopers, along with a couple of local youth, burst into Jean’s bedroom, then bound his...

  • Survivor: Erika Jacoby

    January 21, 2015 | 11:32 am

    “Los, los. Alle heraus,” the SS soldiers yelled, whips in hand, as the train doors opened onto the Auschwitz-Birkenau platform. It was mid-June 1944. “Go, go. All out.” Sixteen-year-old Erika Jacoby, nee Engel, was shoved out of the car, and she stumbled into line. In the distance,...

  • Survivor: Gabriella Karin

    January 7, 2015 | 11:04 am

    Gabriella Karin (then Foldes) tightly clasped her Uncle Sandor’s waist as she traveled on the back of his bicycle along the back roads of Slovakia from Malzenice to Bratislava, a 40-mile journey. It was the summer of 1942, and the 11-year-old had been visiting her grandmother, who...

  • Fred Zaidman: Feeding others is his emotional sustenance

    January 6, 2015 | 10:03 am

    “Can you get any breakfast burritos?”
     
    Fred Zaidman, who had recently added helping the homeless to his list of volunteer passions, went into action, soon securing a commitment from Bristol Farms for 75 burritos for a breakfast for the homeless that The City School, a charter...
  • Survivor: Henry Oster

    December 17, 2014 | 9:30 am

    Achtung,” a German officer shouted. “Attention.” Fifteen-year-old Henry Oster, then called Heinz, lined up with his mother in a Lodz ghetto courtyard on a mid-August day in 1944. He and the others gathered there had been instructed to report for special permits to help harvest the...

  • Survivor: Joseph Alexander

    December 3, 2014 | 11:02 am

    Half the people in the cattle car were already dead when the train pulled in after midnight to the station in the Polish city of Oswiecim (Auschwitz). It was February or March of 1943, and 20-year-old Joseph Alexander — known then as Idel Aleksander — stepped over the bodies as...

  • Survivor: Eva Perlman

    November 19, 2014 | 12:24 pm

    The alert came at dusk. Eva Perlman (then called Eva Hanna Gutmann), just 12 years old, looked out the window of the apartment her family was renting in Autrans, France, on the second story of what they called “the yellow house.” Not far away, she could make out the silhouettes of...

  • Witnesses to Kristallnacht

    November 6, 2014 | 11:08 am

    On a Wednesday evening in late 1938, the sounds of broken glass shattered the quiet streets of Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. Over the next 24 hours, Nov. 9-10, rampaging Nazi mobs would torch more than 1,000 synagogues; vandalize Jewish homes, businesses and cemeteries; and...

  • Survivor: Jack Nierob

    November 5, 2014 | 10:59 am

    It was a beautiful winter’s night in early 1944 when Jack (then Icek) Nierob, 19, left his night-shift job in the steam room of Skarzysko’s Camp C to use the latrine, an outdoor shack near the labor camp’s barbed-wire fence. On his way back, a Ukrainian guard shouted for him to...

  • Survivor: Mike Popik

    October 23, 2014 | 10:34 am

    The SS entered Mauthausen’s overcrowded barracks 30 one night in February 1944 to punish the 120 boys, including 14-year-old Mike (Miki) Popik, who were engaged in a shoving match to avoid sleeping next to the cold, damp wall. Among the guards was one everyone called Sturmführer...

  • Survivor: Sally Zielinksi Roisman

    October 7, 2014 | 11:46 am

    Sally Roisman — at the time Sara Pola Zielinksi — was asleep in a bed she shared with her mother and two sisters in the Sosnowiec ghetto when she was suddenly awakened by loud pounding on the door. A Gestapo officer entered the room. “Get dressed,” he ordered, pointing at Sally....

  • Survivor: Stella Esformes

    September 23, 2014 | 9:49 am

    It was 1944, and Stella Esformes — then Sterina Haleoua — was looking forward to watching the national Independence Day parade in Larissa, Greece. She had even purchased a new pair of beige and brown shoes for the occasion. But the day before the event, in the early morning of...

  • Survivor: Barry Weintraub

    September 10, 2014 | 11:55 am

    "Get out of the house. Go.” 

    Just 19, Barry Weintraub — then Ben Zion or Benchi — didn’t understand why his parents were sending him away. The family had been living and working in a forest in northwest Russia, having escaped from Poland in 1940. “Don’t ask any questions. Just...

  • Survivor: Miriam Bell

    August 27, 2014 | 11:00 am

    As the candles glowed, Miriam Bell (née Galperin), her parents and six siblings were singing and welcoming the Sabbath into their comfortable home in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania. Then gunshots were fired, and screaming erupted. The family ran outside to see Nazi soldiers, who had...

  • Survivor: Frida Berger

    June 4, 2014 | 11:32 am

    “You have to go to the synagogue,” the mailman announced, banging a drum as he stood outside the house Frida Berger (née Isac) shared with two sisters and two brothers in Comlausa, Romania. It was 7 a.m. on the day after Passover in 1944. Two Hungarian soldiers accompanying the...

  • Survivor: William Harvey

    May 21, 2014 | 10:48 am

    “You have to leave your home. We’re taking you to work.” Rifle-carrying soldiers banged on William Harvey’s (then Wilheim Herskovits) door, giving the family five minutes to pack. William grabbed his best coat, which his mother had fashioned from a mohair blanket he had received...

  • Survivor: Curt Lowens

    May 7, 2014 | 10:12 am

    "We are surrounded by Hitler Youth throwing stones. Get home as fast as you can.” Dr. Leonore Goldschmidt, director of the Goldschmidt Schule (School) in Berlin, told the students as she rushed into one of Curt Lowens’ (then Loewenstein’s) morning classes. Amid the chaos, Curt...

  • Frank Schiller

    April 23, 2014 | 1:25 pm

    In October 1941, Frank Schiller, his parents, brother and grandmother were ordered to report to Prague’s Exhibition Hall. There, Frank’s parents spent their days filling out documents while Frank and his brother wandered around. At night, they slept on straw mattresses. To Frank,...

  • Boris Abel

    April 9, 2014 | 12:14 pm

    As Boris Abel — then Berelis Abelski — was being herded from the cattle car that had transported him to Auschwitz, he saw what was happening ahead and quickly tossed the small bag of gold and diamonds he was carrying into a nearby sewer. He and the other newly arrived prisoners...

  • Idele Stapholtz

    March 26, 2014 | 1:21 pm

    The dining room of the Jewish orphanage in Dinslaken, Germany, suddenly went dark. Idele Stapholtz — then Ida Steuer — heard shouting and breaking glass as strange men began hurling tables and chairs through the windows lining the back wall. She and her friend Katie Kohn, both 12...

  • Helen Freeman

    March 12, 2014 | 1:12 pm

    “Yes, Mother, I will not go too far,” Helen Freeman — then Chaja Borenkraut — promised her mother as she left their ghetto apartment in Radom, Poland, on a Thursday afternoon in July 1942. But, suddenly, only a short distance from the apartment, a truck stopped and two SS officers...

  • Fred Wolf

    February 26, 2014 | 4:41 pm

    At 5 a.m. on Nov. 9, 1938, Manfred (Fred) Wolf was awakened by loud banging on the front door of their home in Merl an der Mosel, Germany. He looked out his upstairs window to see two Brownshirts, members of a Nazi militia, standing below with bayoneted guns. “Ed Wolf, you have to...

  • Emil Jacoby

    February 12, 2014 | 4:00 pm

    On Saturday evening, March 18, 1944, Emil Jacoby’s father walked him to the train station in Cop, Czechoslovakia. Emil, just 20, had spent an emotional weekend with his family — their last weekend together, though they didn’t know it at the time — and was returning to Budapest....

  • Betty Cohen

    January 29, 2014 | 10:58 am

    During her first night in Birkenau, on May 22, 1944, Betty Cohen — née Beppe (Rebecca) Corper — slid out of her lower bunk and stepped outside to use the toilet. Just 23, she had arrived that morning with her parents, aunt and grandmother, as well as her fiance and his family, from...

  • Sarah Leisner

    January 16, 2014 | 2:48 pm

    Sarah Leisner — née Kanzer — was digging foxholes in a frozen field in northern Poland on the bitter cold and dark afternoon of Dec. 31, 1944, when she spied several small houses nearby, with smoke rising from the chimneys. “Let’s break in and steal a needle and thread,” Sarah, 19,...

  • Karl Wozniak

    January 3, 2014 | 10:47 pm

    One dark November evening in 1938, as 14-year-old Karl Wozniak and his younger brother, Max, left their Cologne apartment for a walk, they saw a fire burning in nearby Horst Wessel Park. They headed toward the flames and spied a group of Nazis standing around the fire. They stayed...

  • Engelina Billauer

    December 13, 2013 | 10:55 am

    On Oct. 1, 1942, the passenger train carrying 1,000 Jews from Berlin and 250 young Jewish women from Frankfurt-am-Main halted next to a large empty field in Estonia. “Raus, raus” (“Out, out”), SS yelled as they herded the Jews into one line. But they held back 15-year-old Engelina...

  • Sol Liber

    November 25, 2013 | 6:12 pm

    As soon as the train leaving the Warsaw Ghetto made its first stop, the 100 Jews packed into the cattle car with 19-year-old Sol Liber knew they were headed east to the Treblinka death camp. “Half the train was getting crazy,” said Sol, who recalls standing back from the tiny...

  • Doli Sadger Redner

    November 14, 2013 | 4:07 pm

    Doli Offner (now Doli Redner) and her older sister, Lea, stood single file along with a group of young women at Auschwitz as Dr. Josef Mengele walked past, dispatching each with a flick of his thumb to one side or another. Lea was sent to the labor camp line and Doli to the gas...

  • Edith Jacobs

    October 30, 2013 | 1:20 pm

    “You are being relocated to a labor camp,” the Hungarian gendarmes, or police, announced to the Jews of Sopron, Hungary, who had spent the previous two weeks confined to a windowless tobacco factory. Edith Jacobs (née Rosenberger), her parents, three sisters and the other Jews were...

  • Joseph Aleksander

    October 16, 2013 | 1:05 pm

    The railroad car doors slammed open. “Heraus, heraus,” the German guards screamed. “Get out, get out.” Joseph Aleksander woke abruptly. He had been hallucinating that he was relaxing on green grass next to a bubbling stream. In reality, he lay on the floor of a cattle car crammed...

  • Hadasa Cytrynowicz

    October 3, 2013 | 10:04 am

    “Don’t speak, don’t cry. The Germans will hear us, and they will kill us.” Four-year-old Hadasa Cytrynowicz — then Dasha Eisenberg — silently clung to her mother, wrapped in the goose down comforter they had brought with them from Konskie, Poland, to a hut near the Bug River,...

  • Adela Manheimer

    September 18, 2013 | 3:30 pm

    “Who wants to go home?” the SS soldiers asked the 500 women who had just been delivered to Grünberg/Schlesien, a forced labor subcamp of Gross-Rosen in Lower Silesia. Adela Manheimer, née Kestenberg, an only child who, in her words, was “naïve and upset and sick for my parents,”...

  • Betty Hyatt

    September 3, 2013 | 12:55 pm

    “Mommy, mommy.” Five-year-old Betty Hyatt, then Betty Prins, frightened by the unfamiliar low, rumbling noises in the sky, jumped out of bed and ran screaming for her mother. It was early morning on Friday, May 10, 1940, the day she and her father were planning to travel to Holland...

  • Max Stodel

    August 22, 2013 | 4:15 pm

    Rumors circulated through Amsterdam’s Jewish community that married men were exempt from labor camp duty. Max Stodel — then known as Mozes or Mauritz — submitted the paperwork necessary to marry his fiancée, Jeannette van Praag. But during the mandatory two-week waiting period, he...

  • Dorothy Greenstein

    August 7, 2013 | 2:16 pm

    Dorothy Greenstein — then Devorah Kirszenbaum — was upstairs in her family’s apartment in Otwock, Poland, preparing for her first day of third grade and coaxing her 2-year-old nephew to eat when suddenly the whole house shook. Bombs were falling. Dorothy grabbed the toddler and ran...

  • George Berci

    July 24, 2013 | 4:36 pm

    In October 1942, George Berci, then George Bleier, was ordered to report for forced labor. Along with 1,600 young men, the 21-year-old was transported from Budapest to a camp near Bereck, Hungary, near the Romanian border. During the day, in his assigned group of 400 men, George...

  • Joseph Davis

    July 10, 2013 | 1:43 pm

    For three days and three nights, Joseph Davis — then Joseph Davidovich — rode in the crammed cattle car with his parents and six of his eight siblings. “We didn’t know where we were going,” he said. Finally the train pulled up to the Auschwitz platform. As the Jews were pushed from...

  • Robert Geminder

    June 26, 2013 | 4:40 pm

    In the early morning of Oct. 12, 1941, German authorities ordered the Jews of Stanislawow, Poland, to report to the town square. Six-year-old Robert (Bob) Geminder huddled there with his mother, grandmother and brother, George. The group of approximately 20,000 Jews was then...

  • Lidia Budgor

    June 13, 2013 | 11:22 am

    The cattle car pulled up to the Auschwitz platform. As the doors opened, German soldiers with guns and barking dogs began pushing out the more than 100 Jews arriving from the Lodz Ghetto. “Raus, raus,” they shouted, “Out, out.” Lidia Budgor — then Lola Gryngras — fell and cut her...

  • Charlotte Seeman

    May 29, 2013 | 4:18 pm

    Charlotte Seeman — then Charlotte Leiter — spotted the barbed-wire fence ahead. She and her companions — a young woman from Vienna as well as the woman’s boyfriend and uncle — climbed over and continued walking. It was a cold night in December 1938, and they had crossed the German...

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