Sid Handler was born In Vilnius, Lithuania in 1934 (at the time it was part of Poland and he was born with Polish citizenship) as Samuel Rezjewski. Through his childhood, he had lived close to lots of family, and was always surrounded by them. When the Holocaust Began and they were forced into the Vilna Ghetto and they moved his grandmother’s apartment in the Ghetto. At the end of the Holocaust Sid and his mother, the only two surviving members of the family, escaped from HKP labour camp. Sid now lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife, two children, and 5 grandchildren. He is now 82 years old and living happily. Sid Handler’s Oral History Project Interview, conducted by Zach Halpern, took place on the 25th. Nov, 2016.
Oral History Project March 24th, 2017
Etti Miller is a child survivor of the Holocaust. Born just as the war was beginning, Etti and her family were forced into the Vilna Ghetto. They were lucky to escape the liquidation of the ghetto, as they managed to find their way into the forests. They remained there the duration of the war, living among the partisans and with the local farm,era who were brave enough to offer them shelter. Even though she was just a child, Etti sees this as a formative period in her life, something she shared with Crestwood students Alex Hobart and Savannah Yutman at a Cafe Europa interview in February 2013.
Oral History Project May 1st, 2013
Faye Wolpianska was born in Bieniekonie, Poland, in 1928. Her childhood came to an end in June 1941 when the Nazis came to her village. With the war underway, Faye and her family were quickly moved into a ghetto. As conditions worsened, the family made the decision to leave, ending up in the larger Vilna ghetto. Their lives drifted into starvation and slave labour. One day, Faye was laying railway ties in a labour camp and returned home to find that her family had disappeared. Now on her own, Faye decided to run.
She spent months begging for food and shelter. She hid in barns, the woods, and fields, depending on the occasional farmer who would help her. As a young teen, she was brutalized, infested by lice, and forced to walk barefoot in the snow when her boots fell apart. When she wandered into a swamp, the Partisans found her. Faye’s legs were frozen in the material that was wrapped around her feet, her skin peeling off with the material. Although there were no antibiotics or medicine, Faye miraculously survived.
After liberation by the Russians in 1944, Faye returned to her hometown and learned that of the 500 Jews who had lived there, only 14 survived. Her father was murdered in a camp in Estonia, and her brother and sister were gassed in Auschwitz.
Faye arrived in Canada in 1948 and was joined by her mother in 1949. She married Mortz Kieffer in 1952, and together they have two sons and two grandchildren. We first met Faye at Baycrest’s Cafe Europa, where she has twice told her story to Crestwood students. In December 2013 and again in 2015 she visited us at Crestwood, where she sat down with Ms. Winograd’s English 8 class.
admin July 9th, 2012
Norma Dmitry is a Survivor who came to us courtesy of Baycrest’s Cafe Europa, where we met her in May 2012. Norma grew up in Vilna, where so much of the horror that makes up the Holocaust began. She remembers the restrictions of ghetto life as the walls closed in around them, and she compellingly remembers the killing fields of Ponary, not far from Vilna. Norma remembers the collaborators of the Nazis, and she reconstructs here the story of one life – and that of her family – as the Shoah escalated around them.
Norma was interviewed for this project by Katherine Charness, Ellen McPhadden and Alice Lee.
admin July 9th, 2012