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CLARA EMERGED FROM AUSCHWITZ A 15-YEAR-OLD ORPHAN. ARRIVING IN THE USA IN 1948, SHE COMPLETED HER SCHOOLING IN PENNSYLVANIA WHERE SHE LIVED WITH RELATIVES.
THEY FLED TO SHANGHAI WHERE EVA’S AUNT AND UNCLE HAD ALREADY ESTABLISHED A HOME AND A BUSINESS. SHANGHAI WAS OCCUPIED BY THE JAPANESE AND WAS THE ONLY PLACE THAT WOULD ACCEPT JEWISH IMMIGRANTS WITHOUT A VISA.
Jack Mandelbaum grew up in the port city of Gdynia, Poland, where his father, Mejloch, owned a fish cannery and where the family, including his mother Tzesia and two siblings, lived in a large apartment near the beach.
Isak Federman, the sole survivor of his family,was 17 years old when the Germans occupied Wolbrom. A short while later, he was grabbed off the street by the SS and sent to the first of a series of labor and concentration camps. He was liberated by the British at Sandbostel, a sub-camp of Neuengamme, in 1945.
Ann Federman was the next-to-youngest of nine children born to Miriam and Abraham Warszawski in Będzin, Poland. Only fourteen when the Germans invaded Poland, Ann spent the war in Parschnitz, a slave labor in camp in Czechoslovakia.
Sonia and her mother were deported to the Majdanek death camp. Her mother did not survive. Sonia was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then to Bergen-Belsen where the British liberated her. At the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp she met her husband John. The couple came to Kansas City in 1948.
Ilsa Dahl grew up in Geilenkirchen, Germany where her family had lived for generations. They were observant Jews and patriotic Germans, and Ilsa’s father had served in the German army during World War I. Of the town’s 4000 inhabitants, most were Roman Catholics, with whom the family enjoyed friendly relations.
Maria Devinki grew up in Wodzisław, Poland. The Germans sent her father to Treblinka and forced the rest of the family into a ghetto. In 1943, after a year spent as a slave laborer in the Skarżysko complex, a Polish army officer helped Maria leave the camp and hide – along with her husband, her mother, and her brothers.
Sonia Golad, the daughter of Esther and Israel Borowik, grew up in Vilna, Poland, where she attended a private Jewish day school. In her free time, she ice skated and skied, read Sholem Aleichem and I. L. Peretz, and wrote to a pen pal in New York. She remembers long Sunday walks to visit family and friends in the suburbs and carefree summers with her siblings on a farm.
Isaac Feinsilver grew up in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. While in the Tomaszów Ghetto he met and married his wife, June. After that, he was deported to several camps – among them, Bliżyn, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Buchenwald, where the Americans liberated him in 1945.
Abe Gutovitz grew up in Białobrzegi, Poland, near Warsaw. In 1942, Abe and two of his brothers were deported from their ghetto to slave labor in the Skarżysko ammunition complex and the Częstochowa camp. In 1944, Abe and one of his brothers were taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where the Americans liberated him in 1945.
Tiberius Klausner was four years old when he first heard a Gypsy violinist in the café next to his father Hermann’s restaurant in Arad, Romania. He started lessons at age six, practicing several hours a day, supervised by his mother Miriam Margarita. For recreation, he played chess with his younger brother.
In March 1944, Germany occupied Hungary, and from July to December, Judy and her parents were incarcerated in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, while her grandparents and her extended family were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau and her mother’s brother died in a forced labor camp.
Kate Lebovitz, her two older half brothers and her parents enjoyed a middle class lifestyle in Budapest, Hungary. Barred from gymnasium, Kate chose to learn a trade and was apprenticed to a hat maker. During the war she met and married her husband Gene in the Budapest Ghetto. For a time, Kate and Gene passed as Christians and helped a Zionist organization smuggle sick people out of the ghetto.
Norbert Lipschuetz grew up in Berlin, where he was born in 1925. He sang in the boys’ choir at the synagogue where his was one of the last bar mitzvahs before Kristallnacht. In 1934, he was expelled from public school and had to attend a Jewish school, and in 1935, the Nazis stole his father’s carpet business.
Leo Zemelman was born in Wloclak, Poland where he lived with his parents and six siblings. Shortly after the German invasion of Poland Leo was separated from his family and spent the next four years in a series of labor camps and factories including Pozan, Auschwitz, Buchenwald and the Krups factory in Essen.
Lilly spent her summers in the country on her grandparents’ farm. In Munkács, barred from attending school by antisemitic restrictions, Lilly learned to sew in a dressmaking shop. After the German occupation of Munkács, Lilly and her family were forced into a ghetto and from there deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Kurt Metzl was only two years old when his home country, Austria, was annexed to Germany in March 1938. Having been warned by non-Jewish friends to leave if they could, Kurt’s father fled to Switzerland. Kurt and his mother joined him illegally when they disembarked during a train journey that stopped briefly in Switzerland and never re-boarded the train.
On Kristallnacht, her father was arrested. After nearly a year in Buchenwald and Dachau, he was released on condition that he leave
Evelyn Arzt was born in Vienna in 1932. On Kristallnacht, her father was arrested. After nearly a year in Buchenwald and Dachau, he was released on condition that he leave Austria in 24 hours. He made his way to Milan, where Evelyn, her mother and her brother joined him.