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.

Upon learning that the ghetto was going to be liquidated, Dorothy’s father insisted that Dorothy and her sisters go into hiding. After hiding on different farms and private homes, Dorothy went to the town of Pruszkow and obtained a false birth certificate from a church. She posed as a Catholic orphan, and found work as a mother’s helper in Warsaw and Krakow. She was liberated in 1945 by Soviet troops. After reuniting with her sister, they left Poland for Germany and then Canada, where she met and married her husband Allen Greenstein. Dorothy settled in Los Angeles in 1963 with her family where she worked as a teacher.

 


 

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