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ENOCH KORNFELD
BORN: 1938
KOLBUSZOWA, POLAND
Henoch's religious Jewish parents married in 1937. His father, Moishe Kornfeld, and his mother, Liba
Saleschutz, had settled in Kolbuszowa, where Henoch's mother was raised. There, Liba's father
bought the newlyweds a home and started his new son-in-law in the wholesale textile business.
1938-39: Henoch was born in late 1938, and was raised among many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Around Henoch's first birthday,Germany invaded Poland and soon reached Kolbuszowa. Polish
soldiers on horses tried to fight against the German army, but they were no match for tanks. After a
short battle, there were many dead horses in the streets. Henoch's town came under German rule.
1940-42: Everyone in town, including the children, knew of Hafenbier, the vicious German police
commander with the face of a bulldog who was posted in Kolbuszowa. Hafenbier terrorized and
killed many of the town's Jews. Henoch often played a game with the other children in town in which
he would portray Hafenbier, saying to his friends, "If you are a Jew, you are dead." Then, with a rifle
made from a piece of wood, Henoch would "shoot" his playmates. They, in turn, would fall over,
pretending they had been killed.
Henoch and his family were deported to the Rzeszow ghetto on June 25, 1942, and then to
the Belzec extermination camp on July 7 where they were gassed. Henoch was 3 and a half years old.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
HELENE MELANIE LEBEL
BORN: SEPTEMBER 15, 1911
VIENNA, AUSTRIA
The elder of two daughters born to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, Helene was raised as a
Catholic in Vienna. Her father died in action during World War I when Helene was just 5 years old,
and her mother remarried when Helene was 15. Known affectionately as Helly, Helene loved to swim
and go to the opera. After finishing her secondary education she entered law school.
1933-39: At 19 Helene first showed signs of mental illness. Her condition worsened during 1934, and
by 1935 she had to give up her law studies and her job as a legal secretary. After losing her trusted
fox terrier, Lydi, she suffered a major breakdown. She was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and was
placed in Vienna's Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. Two years later, in March 1938, the Germans
annexed Austria to Germany.
1940: Helene was confined in Steinhof and was not allowed home even though her condition had
improved. Her parents were led to believe that she would soon be released. Instead, Helene's mother
was informed in August that Helene had been transferred to a hospital in Niedernhart, just across the
border in Bavaria. In fact, Helene was transferred to a converted prison in Brandenburg, Germany,
where she was undressed, subjected to a physical examination, and then led into a shower room.
Helene was one of 9,772 persons gassed that year in the Brandenburg "Euthanasia" center. She was
officially listed as dying in her room of "acute schizophrenic excitement."
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
EMMA ARNOLD
BORN: APRIL 17, 1898
STRASBOURG, FRANCE
Emma was born to Catholic parents in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace-Lorraine. Her father died
when she was 8 years old, and Emma grew up on her mother's mountain farm. At 14 she became a
weaver. Later, she married and moved with her husband to the Alsatian town of HusserenWesserling. In 1930 she gave birth to a daughter. In 1933 the Arnolds moved to the nearby city of
Mulhouse.
1933-39: We decided to become Jehovah's Witnesses. I was blessed with a loving husband and
beautiful daughter. I kept house and taught my daughter music, painting, knitting, sewing, cooking
and gardening. My husband and I studied the Bible and taught our daughter about Jehovah and the
importance of obeying His commandments. Life in Mulhouse was peaceful and quiet under the
French.
1940-44: After the Germans occupied our town in June 1940, we were no longer free to be Jehovah's
Witnesses. The Gestapo arrested my husband in 1941 and took my daughter in 1943. I returned to my
mother's farm but was arrested there in September 1943. I was sent to the Vorbruck-Schirmeck camp
in Alsace and then to the Gaggenau branch camp in 1944. I was first assigned to sewing and
mending, and then sent to be a housemaid for an SS family. Despite the pressure, nothing broke my
faith.
Emma was liberated by the French army in 1945. She returned to France, where she was reunited
with her husband and daughter.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
WELWEL KISIELNICKI
BORN: CA. 1884
KALUSZYN, POLAND
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: Our hopes that the war wouldn't reach Kaluszyn have been shattered. Last week, a German
plane flew over our town and dropped a bomb on people waiting in line outside a bakery. Then, a
few days later, German forces fought Polish troops in a battle right here in Kaluszyn. Half the town,
including our house, has been flattened by bombs, so we're moving to the outskirts of town, to my
cousin Mojsze's neighborhood.
1940-44: Here in the ghetto, which the Nazis set up in Kaluszyn a few months ago, people are
desperate for food. The Nazis used to permit the Jews to leave town during the daytime to get food in
the nearby village. But now the ghetto has been sealed. Some people sneak out to get food. But every
day, Polish gendarmes [Polish police] catch these people on the road, imprison them, and in some
cases, shoot them. Among some 50 people who have already been shot is our friend Chaim Neiman.
In late 1942 most of the Jews in Kaluszyn were deported to an extermination camp. Welwel, his
family, and most of Kaluszyn's Jewish citizens perished there.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
FRIEDRICH-PAUL VON GROSZHEIM
BORN: APRIL 27, 1906
LUEBECK, GERMANY
Friedrich-Paul was born in the old trading city of Luebeck in northern Germany. He was 11 when his
father was killed in World War I. After his mother died, he and his sister Ina were raised by two
elderly aunts. After graduating from school, Friedrich-Paul trained to be a merchant.
1933-39: In January 1937 the SS arrested 230 men in Luebeck under the Nazi-revised criminal code's
paragraph 175, which outlawed homosexuality, and I was imprisoned for 10 months. The Nazis had
been using paragraph 175 as grounds for making mass arrests of homosexuals. In 1938 I was rearrested, humiliated, and tortured. The Nazis finally released me, but only on the condition that I
agree to be castrated. I submitted to the operation.
1940-44: Because of the nature of my operation, I was rejected as "physically unfit" when I came up
for military service in 1940. In 1943 I was arrested again, this time for being a monarchist, a supporter
of the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Nazis imprisoned me as a political prisoner in an annex of
the Neuengammeconcentration camp at Luebeck.
After the war, Friedrich-Paul settled in Hamburg.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
SARAH JUDELOWITZ
BORN: CA. 1899
LIEPAJA, LATVIA
Sarah, born Sarah Gamper, was one of four children born to a Jewish family in the Baltic port city of
Liepaja. Her parents owned a general store there. At the outbreak of World War I, Sarah was
studying piano at a conservatory in Russia. During World War I, she remained there to serve as a
nurse. She returned to Liepaja, and after marrying Herman Judelowitz in 1920, settled there.
1933-39: Sarah and Herman operated a shoe store in the front of their small shoe workshop. By 1935
they had three daughters,Fanny, Jenny and Liebele. Sarah and Herman were Zionists and they often
helped collect money for Jewish settlers to buy land in Palestine.
1940-43: In June 1941 the Germans reached Latvia and occupied Liepaja. That July, Herman was
murdered by the Germans in a nearby village. For two years, Sarah and her daughters managed to
avoid deportation because Fanny had protected status as a nurse. But in October 1943 they were
deported to Kaiserwald, near Riga. On arriving, the deportees were divided--those able to work on
one side, the infirm and the young on the other. Eight-year-old Liebele was sent with the young.
Sarah would not abandon Liebele and followed.
Sarah and Liebele were never heard from again.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
KARL STOJKA
BORN: APRIL 20, 1931
WAMPERSDORF, AUSTRIA
Karl was the fourth of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsy parents in the village of
Wampersdorf in eastern Austria. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe of Gypsies called the Lowara Roma,
who made their living as itinerant horse traders. They lived in a traveling family wagon, and spent
winters in Austria's capital of Vienna. Karl's ancestors had lived in Austria for more than 200 years.
1933-39: I grew up used to freedom, travel and hard work. In March 1938 our wagon was parked for
the winter in a Vienna campground, when Germany annexed Austria just before my seventh
birthday. The Germans ordered us to stay put. My parents converted our wagon into a wooden
house, but I wasn't used to having permanent walls around me. My father and oldest sister began
working in a factory, and I started grade school.
1940-44: By 1943 my family had been deported to a Nazi camp inBirkenau for thousands of Gypsies.
Now we were enclosed by barbed wire. By August 1944 only 2,000 Gypsies were left alive; 918 of us
were put on a transport to Buchenwald to do forced labor. There the Germans decided that 200 of us
were incapable of working and were to be sent back to Birkenau. I was one of them; they thought I
was too young. But my brother and uncle insisted that I was 14 but a dwarf. I got to stay. The rest
were returned to be gassed.
Karl was later deported to the Flossenbürg concentration camp. He was freed near Roetz, Germany,
by American troops on April 24, 1945. After the war, he returned to Vienna.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
LISL WINTERNITZ
BORN: MAY 7, 1926
PRAGUE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Lisl was the youngest of two children born to a Jewish family in the Czechoslovakian capital of
Prague, a city with a Jewish community that dated back to the eleventh century. Lisl's family lived on
Karlova Street in the Karlin district of the city. Lisl's father owned a wholesale business that sold floor
coverings.
1933-39: I was 12 when, on March 15, 1939, the German occupation forces entered Prague. I went to
school that day and a teacher shouted at me, "You dirty, filthy Jew," and then spat in my face. Almost
every day new Nazi restrictions were placed on the Jews. We weren't allowed in any public place and
our ration cards were stamped with a red "J," meaning we could shop only at certain stores during
certain hours.
1940-44: In December 1941 my brother, Peter, was deported. Before leaving he managed to send us a
one-word note, "Terezin." Then in June 1942 my parents and I were deported, also to the
[Theresienstadt] Terezin ghetto. That September, 5,000 Czechoslovakian Jews in Terezin were being
sent to Auschwitz and my parents and I were on the list. Peter, determined to stay with us, was one
of four who volunteered for that transport. That pushed the number to 5,004, so four from the
original list were returned to the ghetto--I was one of them.
Lisl was assigned to a work detail making gas masks, and remained in Terezin until the end of the
war. She later learned that her parents and brother were killed at Auschwitz.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
WILMA SCHLESINGER MAHRER
BORN: DECEMBER 19, 1876
ZOLYOM, CZECHOSLOVAKIA
Wilma was the oldest of two daughters born to German-speaking Jewish parents. She married Gyula
Mahrer, a Hungarian Jew who had fought in the Hungarian army during World War I. The couple
lived in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, where they raised two daughters. The Mahrers lived near
their eldest daughter,Kornelia, who had married in 1928.
1933-39: Wilma's first grandchild, Maria, was born on Wilma's 55th birthday. By 1936 Wilma had five
grandchildren, three of whom lived in Budapest with her daughter Kornelia and son-in-law, Miksa.
In May 1939 the Hungarian government enacted a law that defined Jews as an alien people and
limited their rights.
1940-44: In 1940 Wilma's son-in-law, Miksa, was conscripted into the Hungarian army's labor service.
Two years later, he was forced to give up his business to a Christian. In March 1944 Germany
occupied Hungary. That summer, Jews were moved into houses marked by an identifying Jewish
star. Many Jews were rounded up and killed. When Wilma's husband died of illness that year, his
family envied him. After Kornelia and Miksa were deported to Germany, Wilma found Christians to
take care of her three orphaned grandchildren.
On January 18, 1945, Wilma and her grandchildren were liberated in Budapest by Soviet troops. She
remained in Budapest after the war.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
ARON TABRYS
BORN: MARCH 4, 1924
VILNA, POLAND
Aron was the second of six children born to Jewish parents in Vilna, a city known as a center of
Jewish cultural life. He was called Arke by his friends and family. Aron's father supported his large
family on the meager income of a chimney sweep.
1933-39: As a child I attended a Jewish day school, and then went on to attend a public secondary
school. When I was 14 my father had an accident which rendered him blind, and I had to start
working full-time to support the family. I belonged to an underground communist group because I
saw communism as a way of combatting the antisemitism in Poland. Our life in Vilna was disrupted
in fall 1939 when the Soviets occupied the city.
1940-45: The Germans occupied Vilna in June 1941. On September 6 that year I was forced into the
Vilna ghetto for two years. Two weeks before the ghetto was liquidated in 1943, I was deported to a
labor camp in Estonia. Over the next year I was transferred to six labor camps, and then for 9 months
to the Dautmergen concentration camp in Bavaria. We had 1,000 people in a barn-like barracks. In the
middle of the room was a pot-bellied stove where we'd gather in the evening so that the lice which
infested our bodies would die from the heat.
Aron survived life in the camps. He weighed 90 pounds when he was liberated in May 1945 on a
transport from the Dachau concentration camp to the Alps. He emigrated to America in 1949.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC