Lea Radziner (nee Sanowsky) was born November 10th, 1938 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom that took place throughout Germany and Austria. Lea’s childhood was able to remain relatively normal until a few weeks after the birth of her younger sister, Ester when the Nazis invaded and conquered the Netherlands in May of 1940. During an antisemitic raid, Lea’s father was arrested suddenly one day along with 425 Jewish men and deported to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria where he later perished.
In an effort to find safety for her daughters, Lea’s mother made the difficult decision of separating her family and sent each daughter to a different hiding spot. Through the Dutch Underground, each daughter was entrusted to families who promised to hide the girls’ true identities and keep them safe. A farming family in the southern part of the Netherlands raised and protected Lea in a loving environment, treating her as if she was their own family. In following the deceptive lie told to neighbors and police, she called the couple, Oom and Tante- uncle and aunt- and survived the Holocaust in their care despite several close calls with Nazi officers. Lea, her sister, and her mother all survived and were reunited after the war in 1945.
Surviving the Holocaust: Stories of Life
An ongoing project of KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles
and Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park