Victim Identity Cards *all photos and texts are from USHMMs website. Wilma Schlesinger Mahrer Wilma was the oldest of two daughters born to German-speaking Jewish Born: Zolyom, Czechoslovakia parents. She married Gyula Mahrer, a Hungarian Jew who had fought in the Hungarian army during World War I. The couple lived in the December 19, 1876 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. Blimcia Lische Born: Kolbuszowa, Poland late 1938 Blimcia's parents were religious Jews. Her father, Shaya David, and her mother, Malcia Saleschtz, had settled in Kolbuszowa, where Blimcia's mother had been raised. There, Malcia's father bought the newlyweds a home and started his new son-in-law in the wholesale flour business. 1933-39: Blimcia was born in 1938, and was raised among many aunts, uncles and cousins. Around Blimcia'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. Blimcia's town came under German rule. 1940-42: The children in town feared Hafenbier, the vicious German police commander who was posted in Kolbuszowa. Hafenbier terrorized and killed many of the town's Jews. Blimcia often played a game in which her 3-year-old cousin Henoch would portray Hafenbier, asking her and their friends, "Are you a Jew?" "Yes," they would answer. "If you are a Jew," mimicked Henoch, "you are dead." With his rifle fashioned from wood, Henoch would "shoot" Blimcia and the others. They would fall over, pretending they had been killed.
Blimcia and her 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. Blimcia was 3 and a half years old. Wolfgang Munzer Born: Berlin, Germany February 26, 1920 An only child, Wolfgang was born in Berlin to Jewish parents. His father was the foreign representative for a sewing notions company. The family lived in a comfortable apartment in the southwestern district of the city. Wolfgang attended secondary school there and hoped to become an electrical engineer. 1933-39: When the Nazis came to power, my father fled Germany because he was a socialist and was afraid he'd be arrested. Mother was very ill, so my grandmother took care of me until it became too difficult for her, and then she placed me in a Jewish orphanage. By then, Jews weren't allowed in public schools, so I switched to a Jewish middle school. In l937 I joined my father in Paris and entered a training institute to learn to be a mechanic. 1940-44: By 1943 I was living in Nice with my father and my stepmother, who owned a lending library. Many Jews had sought haven in Nice because under the Italian occupation there, Jews were not persecuted. But when Italy surrendered to the Allies in September, the Germans occupied the area. In March 1944 the Nazis deported me, my parents, and 1,500 other Jews in sealed box cars from a transit camp near Paris to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, I was separated from my parents and herded into a room where my head was shaved.
Wolfgang's parents were gassed upon arrival at Auschwitz. Wolfgang was put to work in an electrical components factory and survived the war. He emigrated to America in 1947. Ossi Stojka Born: Austria 1936 Ossi was the youngest of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsies who traveled in a family wagon. Their caravan spent winters in Vienna, Austria's capital, and summers in the Austrian countryside. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe of Gypsies called the Lowara Roma, who made their living as itinerant horse traders. Ossi's ancestors had lived in Austria for more than 200 years. 1933-39: Ossi was 2 years old when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. The Stojka family wagon was parked for the winter in a Vienna campground when the Germans marched in. They ordered the Gypsies to stay put. The Stojkas had to convert their wagon into a wooden house and had to adjust to staying in one place. 1940-44: Gypsies were forced to register as members of a different "race." When Ossi was 5, the Germans took away his father. Next, they took his sister, Kathi. Finally, Ossi and the rest of his family were deported to a Nazi camp in Birkenau for Gypsies. There was very little to eat, mostly turnips. Little Ossi fell ill with typhus, and was taken to the barracks for sick prisoners. The infirmary was often referred to by prisoners as the "antechamber of the crematoria." Ossi was given no medical treatment in the infirmary, and died of typhus and
malnutrition. He was 7 years old. Joseph Muscha Mueller Joseph was born in Bitterfeld, Germany, to Gypsy parents. For reasons Born: Bitterfeld, Germany unknown, he was raised in an orphanage for the first one-and-a-half years of 1932 his life. At the time of Joseph's birth, some 26,000 Gypsies--members of either the Sinti or Roma tribes--lived in Germany. Though most were German citizens, they were often discriminated against by other Germans and subjected to harassment. 1933-39: At age one-and-a-half, Joseph was taken into foster care by a family living in Halle, a city some 20 miles from Bitterfeld. That same year, the Nazi party came to power. When Joseph was in school, he was often made the scapegoat for pranks in the classroom and beaten for "misbehaving." He was also taunted with insults like "bastard" and "mulatto" by classmates who were members of the Hitler Youth movement. 1940-44: When Joseph was 12 he was taken from his classroom by two strangers who said he had "appendicitis" and needed immediate surgery. He protested, but was beaten and forcefully taken into surgery where he was sterilized, a procedure legalized by a Nazi law allowing the forced sterilization of "asocials," a category that included Gypsies. After his recovery, Joseph was to be deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but his foster father managed to have him smuggled from the hospital and hidden. Joseph survived the remainder of the war by hiding for five months in a garden shed.
Ceija Stojka Born: Kraubath bei Knittelfeld, Austria 1933 Ceija was the fifth of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsy parents. The Stojka's family wagon traveled with a caravan that spent winters in the Austrian capital of Vienna and summers in the Austrian countryside. The Stojkas belonged to a tribe of Gypsies called the Lowara Roma, who made their living as itinerant horse traders. 1933-39: I grew up used to freedom, travel and hard work. Once, my father made me a skirt out of some material from a broken sunshade. I was 5 years old and our wagon was parked for the winter in a Vienna campground, when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. The Germans ordered us to stay put. My parents had to convert our wagon into a wooden house, and we had to learn how to cook with an oven instead of on an open fire. 1940-44: Gypsies were forced to register as members of another "race." Our campground was fenced off and placed under police guard. I was 8 when the Germans took my father away; a few months later, my mother received his ashes in a box. Next, the Germans took my sister, Kathi. Finally, they deported all of us to a Nazi camp for Gypsies in Birkenau. We lived in the shadows of a smoking crematorium, and we called the path in front of our barracks the
"highway to hell" because it led to the gas chambers. Ceija was subsequently freed in the Bergen-Belsen camp in 1945. After the war, she documented and published Lowara Gypsy songs about the Holocaust. Harry Pauly Born: Germany 1914 As a young boy growing up in Berlin, Harry developed a love for the theater. At 15 he began acting in minor roles at a theater at the Nollendorfplatz. He was also apprenticed to a hairdresser but disliked the work. He spent most of his time with other actors, both at the theater and in nightclubs where homosexuals gathered. 1933-39: When the Nazis came to power, they closed the gay bars. Some homosexuals, especially those who were Jewish, were killed by Nazi hooligans; my friend "Susi," a drag queen, was stabbed to death. In 1936 I was arrested under the Nazi-revised paragraph 175 of the criminal code, which outlawed homosexuality. I was imprisoned in a camp at Neusustrum, where I worked in the marshes 12 hours a day. After 15 months I was released. 1940-44: In 1943 I was turned in by two boys pressured by the Gestapo to denounce homosexuals. Again I was sentenced under paragraph 175. Again I was released, this time after only eight months because friends in the theater intervened on my behalf. I was then drafted into the army but wherever I went, people knew of my 175 conviction and called me a "dirty faggot." I couldn't stand
it and deserted twice. Finally, as punishment, I was sent to a special combat unit in which almost everyone was killed. Somehow I managed to survive. After the war, Harry started his own small theater. Robert Oelbermann Born: Bonn, Germany April 24, 1896 In 1919 Robert and his brother Karl founded the Nerother Bund youth group in the Cologne region. Like other German youth groups, it aimed to bring youth closer to nature through camping and hiking. Homosexual relationships sometimes developed from the intense adolescent male camaraderie, and the Nerother Bund accepted these friendships, as did a number of German youth groups at the time. 1933-39: Soon after the Nazis took power in 1933, they dissolved all independent youth groups and urged the members to join the Hitler Youth movement. Robert refused and secretly continued his connection with the Nerother Bund. In 1936 he was convicted under the Nazi-revised criminal code's paragraph 175 which outlawed homosexuality. Robert was imprisoned with 13 other members of the Nerother Bund. 1940-41: Robert was one of more than 50,000 men sentenced under paragraph 175 during the Nazi regime. By 1941 he had been transferred to the Dachau concentration camp. Like many "175ers" in the camps, Robert was required to wear an identifying pink triangle. The "175ers" were commonly segregated in separate barracks, subjected to particularly harsh treatment, and often
ostracized by other prisoner groups. Forty-four-year-old Robert died at Dachau in 1941. Details of his death are unknown. Willem Arondeus Born: Naarden, Netherlands August 22, 1894 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. Although he was a struggling painter, Willem refused to go on welfare. In 1938 Willem began writing a biography of Dutch painter Matthijs Maris, and after the book was published, Willem's financial situation improved. 1940-44: The Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. Soon after the occupation, Willem joined the resistance. His unit's main task was to falsify identity papers for Dutch Jews. On March 27, 1943, Willem's unit attacked the Amsterdam registry building and set it on fire in an attempt to destroy records against which false identity papers could be checked. Thousands of files were destroyed. Five days later the unit was betrayed
and arrested. That July, Willem and 11 others were executed. Before his execution, Willem asked a friend to testify after the war that "homosexuals are not cowards." Only in the 1980s did the Dutch government posthumously award Willem a medal. Johann Stossier Johann was born to Catholic parents in the part of Austria known as Born: Techelsberg, Austria Carinthia, where he was raised on the family farm. Johann enjoyed acting May 29, 1909 and belonged to a theater group in nearby Sankt Martin, which also happened to have a Jehovah's Witness congregation. He became a Jehovah's Witness during the late 1920s, actively preaching in the district around Sankt Martin. 1933-39: Johann continued to do missionary work for the Jehovah's Witnesses even after this was banned by the Austrian government in 1936. The situation for Jehovah's Witnesses worsened after Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. Like other Witnesses, Johann refused to give the Hitler salute, to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler, or to enlist in the army. 1940-44: In April 1940 Johann was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in Klagenfurt. The Nazis deported him to the Neuengamme concentration camp, and then to the Sachsenhausen camp. In Sachsenhausen, the Germans tried to force Johann to repudiate his faith as a Jehovah's Witness, but Johann refused. Though it was forbidden, he had secretly hidden a tiny Bible, and reading Scripture enabled him to fortify his belief that the power of God was stronger than the power of the Nazi regime.
Johann was executed on May 7, 1944, in Sachsenhausen. He was 34 years old. Berthold Mewes Berthold was an only child. He was raised in Paderborn, a town in a largely Born: Paderborn, Germany Catholic region of western Germany. Paderborn was near Bad Lippspringe, where there was a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation engaged in missionary August 19, 1930 work. Beginning in 1933, the Nazis moved to outlaw Jehovah's Witness activities. 1933-39: When I was 4, my parents became Jehovah's Witnesses and I began to attend secret Bible meetings with them. I began public school in 1936. Mama was arrested in 1939 and sent to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. When I was 9, Papa sent me to live with my uncle in Berlin; however, three months later Papa was forced to deliver me to the authorities. Afterwards, Papa was imprisoned for refusing to serve in the military. 1940-44: The Germans sent me to live with a childless couple who had a small farm. In the morning I'd attend school and afterwards I'd do farm work. I could write one letter every six months to either Mama or Papa. But in 1943 I was forbidden to write any more letters to my parents. I could only hope and pray that they were still alive. Although I had no contact with other Jehovah's Witnesses, my faith in Jehovah and the teachings of the Bible helped me overcome my loneliness and uncertainty. Berthold was reunited with his parents in 1945 when he was 15, and together the family resumed their lives as Jehovah's Witnesses. Berthold
later moved to the United States. Helene lived in Herne and Bochum in western Germany, where she was married to a coal miner who was unemployed between 1927 and 1938. Helene Gotthold Following their disillusionment with the Lutheran Church during World War I, Born: Dortmund, Germany Helene, who was a nurse, and her husband became Jehovah's Witnesses in December 31, 1896 1926. Together, they raised their two children according to the teachings of the Scripture. 1933-39: Under the Nazis, Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted for their missionary work and because they believed their sole allegiance was to God and His Commandments. Some of the Gotthold's neighbors refused to have anything to do with them. Helene's husband was arrested in 1936. After searching her house, the Gestapo arrested her in 1937; she was beaten with rods and lost her unborn baby. The court gave her an 18-month sentence. 1940-44: Helene and her husband were released and the Gotthold family was reunited. Helene and her husband were rearrested in February 1944. They were imprisoned in Essen, but when the prison was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid, they were transferred to a prison in Potsdam. On August 4, the People's Court sentenced Helene and five other Witnesses to death for illegally holding Bible meetings and undermining the nation's morale. Before her execution, Helene was allowed to write a letter to her husband and children. Helene was executed by guillotine in Berlin's Ploetzensee Prison on
December 8, 1944. Her family survived and resumed their Jehovah's Witness missionary work in Germany. Zofia Yamaika Born: Warsaw, Poland 1925 Zofia was raised in a well-to-do, prominent Hasidic Jewish family in Warsaw. Uneasy with the constant tension between the Polish people and the Jewish minority, Zofia joined the communist student club Spartacus when she was a teenager. Spartacus actively campaigned against the growing fascist movement in Europe. 1933-39: When Warsaw surrendered to the Germans on September 28, 1939, Zofia was 14 years old. She stopped going to school. Though the Nazis banned Spartacus, she secretly helped to revive the club, which printed antifascist posters and leaflets and distributed them throughout Warsaw. The work was dangerous--German troops were all over the city. 1940-43: A year later, Zofia and her parents were among nearly half a million Jews "resettled" in a small section of Warsaw. The ghetto was sealed in November 1940. Through Spartacus, Zofia trained with a pistol smuggled in by communist partisans. Zofia wanted to join them, but escaping meant endangering her parents' lives. When they were deported in July 1942, Zofia escaped and joined the Lion partisans near Radom. Some 300 Nazis attacked her group of 50 on February 9, 1943. Zofia and two Poles offered to cover their unit's retreat.
Zofia, 18, armed with a machine gun, let the Germans come within eight feet before she fired. Her position was overtaken, and she was killed. Her unit managed to retreat. Kazimiera Banach Justynowa Born: Mierzen, Poland July 12, 1893 Kazimiera was born to Roman Catholic parents in the town of Mierzen. After graduating from a teacher's college in Staniatki, she married Wincenty Justyna, a secondary school teacher. The couple settled in the small industrial city of Piotrkow Trybunalski and raised three children, Jerzy (a boy), Danuta and Maria. Kazimiera worked as a school teacher. 1933-39: With their combined incomes the Justynas were able to buy a plot of land and build a house. The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and four days later, German troops streamed into Piotrkow. One month into the occupation, the Germans divided the city into a section for the non-Jewish Poles and a ghetto for the Jews. Only a few weeks after the occupation, Kazimiera joined the resistance movement. 1940-44: Kazimiera's house became a contact point and shelter for resistance fighters in the Polish Home Army [Armia Krajowa]. When the Germans liquidated the Jewish ghetto in 1942, Kazimiera hid the Szwarcs--a fellow teacher who was Jewish and her two daughters, friends of Maria and Danuta. Kazimiera used her contacts in the
resistance to get the Scwarcs false IDs. In 1944 Kazimiera was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured, and deported to Germany, first to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp later on to the Bergen-Belsen camp. In April 1945 Kazimiera was liberated at Bergen-Belsen. After the war, she went to Sweden to recover from typhus, and then returned to Piotrkow Trybunalski. Born to Catholic parents, Wladyslaw attended schools in Warsaw and Wladyslaw Tadeusz Surmacki earned a degree in survey engineering in Moscow in 1914. After fighting in Born: Proszowice, Poland World War I, he commanded a horse artillery division in Warsaw, worked for Poland's Military Geographic Institute, and taught topography courses. October 20, 1888 He started a family in 1925, and after he retired from the army in 1929 he founded a surveying company. 1933-39: When war with Germany became imminent in the summer of 1939, Wladyslaw volunteered to fight but was rejected as too old. In early September, when Germany overwhelmed Poland's western defenses, he fled, hoping to fight in the defense of eastern Poland. In mid-September, a day before the Soviets invaded Poland, he was given a chance to leave the country and go to Great Britain but chose to stay and fight with the Polish resistance. 1940-42: Wladyslaw became chief of staff of TAP, one of the groups of the Polish underground. In the summer of 1940 he was arrested and sent to
Auschwitz. As prisoner #2759 he worked as a surveying engineer in the camp's construction office. His work enabled him to go outside the camp. He used his status to smuggle letters and, by October, to help organize a military underground. In November 1941 he was released on the intercession of a former German engineering colleague, but was immediately rearrested and put in Warsaw's Pawiak Prison. Wladyslaw was taken to a forest near Magdalenka and machine-gunned along with 223 Poles on May 28, 1942. They were buried in mass graves and later moved to the local cemetery. Helene Melanie Lebel Born: Vienna, Austria September 15, 1911 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." Smiljka was one of three daughters born to Serbian Orthodox parents in the Smiljka Ljoljic Visnjevac town of Mostar in the central Yugoslav region of Herzegovina. Smiljka's mother Born: Mostar, Yugoslavia died when Smiljka was 3, and the three girls were raised by their father. A 1905 tomboy in her youth, at 17 Smiljka won the Miss Makarska Riviera beauty pageant and left for Germany to become a fashion model. 1933-39: Smiljka had a successful modeling career in Berlin. With her tall, slim figure, high cheekbones, and almond-shaped, grey-blue eyes, she was noted for her resemblance to Greta Garbo. Smiljka was anti-fascist and left Germany after Hitler came to power. When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, Smiljka was living in the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade with her husband, Tihomir Visnjevac, and their young son. 1940-41: Like many in Belgrade, Smiljka was openly anti-fascist. On March 27, 1941, a new anti-fascist government took power in Yugoslavia. In reaction,
Germany launched a surprise bombing attack on Belgrade on Palm Sunday, April 6, 1941. Six days later, German troops occupied the city. Together with her husband, Smiljka, who was known to the Germans for her anti-fascist views during her days in Weimar Germany, was rounded up by the Gestapo. For more than two weeks, Smiljka and her husband were beaten and tortured. Smiljka was shot by a German firing squad in the Banjica concentration camp in early May 1941. She was 35 years old. Friedrich-Paul von Groszheim Friedrich-Paul was born in the old trading city of Luebeck in northern Born: Luebeck, Germany Germany. He was 11 when his father was killed in World War I. After his April 27, 1906 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 re-arrested, 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 Neuengamme concentration camp at Luebeck. After the war, Friedrich-Paul settled in Hamburg. Isadore Frenkiel Born: Gabin, Poland ca. 1898 Isadore and his wife, Sossia, had seven sons. The Frenkiels, a religious Jewish family, lived in a one-room apartment in a town near Warsaw called Gabin. Like most Jewish families in Gabin, they lived in the town's center, near the synagogue. Isadore was a self-employed cap maker, selling his caps at the town's weekly market. He also fashioned caps for the police and military. 1933-39: Isadore felt the pinch of the Depression, but although business was poor, he was able to provide for his family. Shortly after the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, they occupied Gabin. Ten people were shot in the street; others, such as doctors and teachers, were taken away. The Germans rounded up the Jewish men and held them in the marketplace while soldiers doused the synagogue with gasoline and set it on fire. 1940-42: In 1941 the Frenkiels heard rumors that the Germans were evacuating some towns and deporting the Jews to a death camp. A cousin visited the family after escaping from a transport and said the rumors were true. "They put you in trucks, gas you, then throw your body into a burning pit," he said. Isadore's 3year-old son ran to his mother crying, "Will they burn me, too?" Isadore urged his cousin to tell the Jewish elders. He met with them, but they did not believe his story and told him to leave town.
In May 1942 Gabin's Jews were deported to the Chelmno death camp. Isadore, Sossia and four of their sons were placed in a sealed van and asphyxiated with exhaust fumes. Nadine was the daughter of immigrant Jewish parents. Her Nadine Schatz Russian-born mother settled in France following the Russian Born: Boulogne-Billancourt, France Revolution of 1917. Nadine was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a September 10, 1930 city on the outskirts of Paris known for its automobile factories. She was fluent in Russian and French. 1933-39: Nadine attended elementary school in Paris. Her mother, Ludmilla, taught piano, and her Russian grandmother, Rosalia, lived with them. After France declared war on Germany in September 1939, Nadine's mother moved the family to Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, a small village on the Brittany coast, hoping it would be safer. There, Nadine resumed her schooling. 1940-42: Victorious German troops reached Saint-Marc-sur-Mer in June 1940. After France surrendered to Germany, the Germans remained in Brittany. Nadine and her mother moved to the nearby city of Nantes. But local French officials frequently cooperated with the occupying Germans to help enforce anti-Jewish laws. In 1942 Nadine and her mother were arrested by French police. Nadine was separated from her mother and deported to the Drancy transit
camp east of Paris. Twelve-year-old Nadine was deported to Auschwitz on September 23, 1942. She was gassed shortly after arriving. Shulim was the oldest of three children born to religious Jewish parents living Shulim Saleschutz in Kolbuszowa, a town in south central Poland. His father owned a wholesale Born: Kolbuszowa, Poland general store in town, and was known in the region for his impressive March 7, 1930 strength. Shulim's mother tended to the house and cared for him, his brother, Shlomo, and his sister, Rozia. 1933-39: When Shulim was 9, the Germans invaded Poland. Polish soldiers on horses tried to fight against the German army, but they were no match against the tanks. After the short battle, there were many dead horses in the streets. Shulim's father and his uncle Naftali were forced to help bury the horses. The Germans ordered that Jewish children could not go to school anymore. Shulim stayed at home with his mother, brother and sister. 1940-42: In July 1941 the Germans forced all the Jews of Kolbuszowa to live in one small section of town. Two of Shulim's grandparents, an uncle and two aunts moved in with his family, making their apartment very crowded. Shulim's twelfth birthday was a milestone--he now had to wear an armband with a Star of David like the other men. He felt proud, and asked his uncle Naftali to take a picture of him wearing the armband. Shulim was assigned to work details with the other men. He cleared snow and repaired the roads. Shulim was deported to the Rzeszow ghetto on June 25, 1942, and then to the
Belzec camp in July. There, Shulim was gassed with his mother, brother and sister. He was 12 years old. Bruna Sevini Born: Trieste, Italy September 22, 1923 Bruna was the oldest of two children born to Italian-speaking Jewish parents who had settled in the cosmopolitan city of Trieste. Her father, born in Vienna, served in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. He became a naturalized Italian during the 1920s after marrying Bruna's mother. Growing up in fascist Italy, Bruna attended public schools in Trieste and felt proud to be an Italian. 1933-39: In September 1938 I was surprised to see anti-Jewish graffiti. Then antiJewish race laws were announced. I was expelled from my public secondary school and my father was fired from his job. Circumstances forced me into a new, private Jewish school organized by fired Jewish professors, with small classes and excellent teachers. Ironically, my exams and diploma were fully accredited by the Italian state. 1940-44: We were glad when Mussolini fell from power in July 1943, but his fall led to the German occupation of Italy. We fled south but were caught in a roundup. Awaiting deportation to Germany, I attended a Christmas Mass in our prison. The Bishop of Rimini told me not to despair and to believe in miracles. Three days later the prison was hit during an air raid. We escaped to a convent south of Rimini and discovered that the bishop had instructed the convent to give shelter to refugees with no questions or payment asked.
Bruna was liberated at the convent by British troops on September 23, 1944, the day after her twenty-first birthday. Wilhelm Edelstein Born: Vienna, Austria July 1, 1914 Wilhelm was the oldest of two children in a Jewish family living in the Habsburg capital of Vienna. Shortly after Wilhelm was born, World War I broke out. Because of food shortages, Wilhelm and his mother left for her hometown of Hostoun, near Prague. After the war they returned to Vienna where his father had remained to run his shoe business. As a young man, Wilhelm worked for his father. 1933-39: In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria. Soon after, the Germans arrested Wilhelm because he was a Jew dating a Christian woman, an act forbidden under Nazi law. Released on the condition that he leave Austria within 30 days, Wilhelm, with a Jewish friend, traveled to the Czechoslovakian border. After several aborted attempts he crossed the frontier illegally. Wilhelm went on to Prague where he stayed with relatives. 1940-44: In 1941 Wilhelm was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and then to Riga, Latvia, where he was put in charge of a group of prisoners peeling potatoes in the ghetto's "German section" for Jews from the Reich. He was then deported to several other camps and eventually to Troeglitz, a subcamp of Buchenwald. There, he made contact with a Christian villager from outside the camp. The man often traveled to Vienna and managed to bring back bread from
Wilhelm's aunt and smuggle it in to Wilhelm. In March 1945 Wilhelm was deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He died only a few weeks before the camp was liberated by the British army on April 15, 1945. Moise Gani Born: Preveza, Greece April 1913 Moise's family were Romaniot Jews, a group that had lived in Greek cities and the Balkans for 1,100 years. In the early 1920s Moise's family moved to Italy, where his father tried to find work. Moise attended school, and when his family returned to Greece after two years, he remained in Italy to complete school. When Moise returned to Preveza at age 17, he had forgotten Greek. 1933-39: Moise worked as a bookkeeper and administrator at the local electric company in Preveza, and he lived with his parents. Moise liked to picnic with his friends at the shore of the Ionian Sea. Sometimes he invited his younger brothers and sisters to come along. 1940-44: The Germans invaded Greece in 1941, and took over the region where Preveza was located in the fall of 1943. In March 1944 the Jews of Preveza were deported to Auschwitz. There Moise was assigned to Birkenau as part of the Sonderkommando, a work unit that took corpses to the crematoria. On October 7, 1944, the Sonderkommando in crematorium IV revolted, killing an overseer, disarming SS guards and blowing up the crematorium. Soon, others in the Sonderkommando, including Moise, joined in the uprising.
Moise was killed in Birkenau in October 1944. He was 31 years old. Mirjana was the second of three children born to well-to-do Serbian Mirjana Babunovic Dimitrijevic parents in the capital of Bosnia, in central Yugoslavia. Her father was a successful businessman and prominent Serbian nationalist. Like her Born: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia parents, Mirjana was baptized in the Serbian Orthodox faith. Mirjana July 1921 attended elementary school in the multi-ethnic city of Sarajevo. 1933-39: While in secondary school, Mirjana studied foreign languages and toured western Europe. In 1938 she graduated. That fall she enrolled as a student of English and English literature at the University of Belgrade. While at the university she became engaged to Radoje Dimitrijevic from Macedonia, a fellow student who was studying to be a civil engineer. 1940-44: Mirjana married her fiance in 1940. The Germans bombed Belgrade on Palm Sunday, April 6, 1941. When the Germans invaded, Mirjana and Radoje left for Macedonia. Two years later, Mirjana returned to live with her mother in Sarajevo, which was controlled by a pro-German Croatian fascist regime. In early 1944 Croatian police arrested Mirjana, her mother and her aunt because they were Serbs. After refusing to convert to Roman Catholicism, Mirjana was deported to Jasenovac, a Croatian-run concentration camp. Mirjana perished in Jasenovac in late 1944. She was 23 years old.