Edith Frankie

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust 2015 Annual Gala Dinner:

Edith was born in the Transylvanian village of Chiesd in 1930, a region occupied by Hungary during the Second World War. In 1944, when Edith was thirteen years old, Nazi Germany invaded Hungary. Her family’s many Christian friends were no longer allowed to associate with them. Soon, her family was confined to a ghetto in a nearby city, and then sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon her arrival in Auschwitz, Edith, her sister and her mother were separated from her father and brother. After a longer selection process, Edith and her sister were sent to a labor camp in Riga, Latvia. In August 1944, they were transferred to the Stutthof Concentration Camp in Poland. In the wake of the Soviet military advance, Edith and the other inmates were sent on a death march. After marching through Bergen-Belsen and Ravensbruck, they finally arrived at the Malchow Concentration Camp in Germany, where they were liberated in May 1945.

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Phil Raucher

 

Phil was born in 1927 in Czeladz, Poland. Aware of impending danger, Phil’s parents sent him and his brother to relatives in Wolbrom, Poland. When the war started in September 1939, the Jews of Wolbrom were attacked in the streets. Afraid for their safety and for their parents, Phil and his brother secretly took a train back to Czeladz. Phil soon found a job working as an apprentice in a furniture factory that had been taken over by Germans. In 1942, he was sent to a prison, and then to the city of Sosnowiec. In Sosnowiec, the Nazi authorities selected Jews to be deported to concentration camps.

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Ruth Birndorf

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Ruth Birndorf was born in Munich, Germany in 1931. Throughout her childhood, anti-Jewish laws were implemented throughout the country. For Ruth’s family, anti-Jewish policy peaked in November 1938 when her grandfather’s store was destroyed in the Kristallnacht pogrom. One month after the pogrom, her family legally left Germany for Tilburg, The Netherlands, where her father had been earning a living. Life was not easy for Ruth in Tilburg. Her school teachers discriminated against her and other Jewish students. When Nazi Germany invaded The Netherlands, she was no longer allowed to go to school, but they were able to keep their home.

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Marie Kaufman

Marie Kaufman’s parents were Polish Jews who had settled in France before the war. When Nazi Germany invaded France, they both fled to “Vichy France,” the unoccupied south of the country, where they met one another. Marie was born in the town of Albi in 1941, and she and her parents soon moved into a rented home in the nearby village of Milhars. In 1942, the Vichy government issued an order to turn all Jews over to the authorities. After a gendarme came to the house with an order to arrest Marie’s father, their landlady helped him secure a hiding place.

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Eva Wartnik

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Eva Wartnik was born in Satu Mare, a Romanian city that fell under Hungarian rule during World War II. When Nazi Germany invaded Hungary in 1944, anti-Jewish laws proliferated and Eva was no longer allowed to attend public school. Once Eva’s parents started to hear rumors from Jews who had escaped Poland, they obtained false identification papers and escape to the Romanian border. However, as Eva and her sisters were nearing the border, an informer turned them in and they were immediately arrested.

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Idele Stapholtz

Idele was born in 1926 in Chemnitz, Germany to Polish Jewish parents. She was an only child, and her mother died shortly after her birth. When she was four years old, she and her father moved to Recklinghausen, Germany where Idele lived with the Jacobsohns, German-Jewish family. In 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and Idele’s father, along with other Polish Jews living in Germany, was deported to Poland. Idele remained in Recklinghausen with the Jacobsohns until 1937, when she moved into an orphanage.

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Harry Davids

Harry Davids was born in 1942 in Nazi-occupied Holland. His parents were German Jews who had left Germany for The Netherlands for better economic opportunities. Soon after his birth, his parents, who understood how dangerous the situation was, made the difficult decision to give Harry to members of the Dutch Resistance. ,The Dutch Resistance arranged from him to be hidden with a Protestant family in the small Dutch town of Engwierum. The family pretended that he was their son, and they protected him for the remainder of the Holocaust.

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Dorothy Greenstein

Dorothy was born in Otwock, Poland in 1930. She was one of nine children, and her father was a rabbi and very connected with the local Jewish community. Before the outbreak of war, Dorothy attended Polish school, developing a Polish accent and knowledge of how to speak proper Polish, which inadvertently later helped saved her life during the Holocaust. Following Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the Jews of Otwock were confined to a ghetto. Dorothy and her family lived in the terrible conditions of the ghetto for three years. During this time, Dorothy would sneak out of the ghetto and utilize her knowledge of the city and her perfect Polish to smuggle food back to her family.

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Erika Fabian

Erika was born in Budapest, Hungary.  When she was three years old, the Hungarian regime, then allied with Nazi Germany, arrested her father and sent him into forced labor.  Shortly following the Nazi invasion, Erika, her mother, and her older sister moved to a “Yellow Star House,” a designated area where Jews were being forced to live. As the living condition in Budapest worsened, Erika’s mother managed to secure false papers for her family. Her mother temporarily hid her daughters as patients in a Red Cross Children’s Hospital. After two days at a hospital, where they feigned illness, the Nazis evacuated Erika, her sister, and the entire hospital and forced them to march through the entire city in the cold rain.

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Renee Firestone

Renee was born in 1924 in Uzhhorod, Czechoslovakia, a territory that fell under Hungarian control in 1938.  Her father, who worked in the textile business, was allowed to keep his job, but her brother was arrested and sent to a forced labor camp. Following the Nazi occupation in 1944, Renee, her sister and parents were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Upon arrival, Renee was separated from her parents and sister.  At age 21, 13 months after Renee entered Auschwitz, she was liberated. Renee’s mother and sister, a victim of Mengele’s experiments, were both murdered in Auschwitz.

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