Brinberg, Georgette

Georgette Brinberg was born June 10, 1938 in Villerupt, France.  Her parents had emigrated from Poland in the 1920s, looking for opportunities.  They began their lives in France in Villerupt, a border town in the northeast known for the metal trades.  When the war began and the German blitzkrieg fell on France, Villerupt was heavily

Mesner, Mila

Mila Mesner was born November 22, 1923 in Zalishchyky, Poland (now Ukraine).  She recalls a positive childhood, full of family and good memories.  All of that changed with the beginning of the war:  Mila’s town was in the Soviet zone of occupation, and she remembers that arrests and deprivation began right away.  Mila’s father chose

Bozek, John

John Bozek was born August 16, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan.  His parents had emigrated from Poland at the turn-of-the-century, and John was the youngest in a family of four siblings.  He grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression, but John remembers that his father always had a job, and that the family even

Gladstone, Sidney

Sidney Gladstone was born July 18, 1925 in Toronto.  He grew up in the city’s old Ward neighbourhood, though he remembers moving around a lot when he was young, and attending many different schools.  Sid’s grandparents had emigrated to Canada at the turn of the century, leaving behind the limitations and pogroms of Poland to

Bultz, Paula

Paula Bultz was born November 24, 1935 in Warsaw, Poland, where her family had lived for four generations. She remembers her prewar childhood in positive terms, full of family and love.  All of that changed in late 1939:  her father was recalled to active military service, and in September the war began.  Paula’s mother made

Myers, Muguette

Muguette Myers was born in 1931 in Paris.  Her parents had emigrated to France from Poland, hoping to leave behind the anti-Semitism of eastern Europe.  Muguette’s father died when she was only three, so it became her mother’s job to support the family.  Muguette had to go to school with her brother despite her young

Kuper, Eva

Eva Kuper was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1940, into a world that had just been catapulted into war.  Her parents were from Sandomierz, born into families with well-tempered expectations that had been shattered with the Nazi occupation.  They ended up in the Warsaw Ghetto, where they endured the brutality and deprivation of the Shoah. 

Dawang, Elie

Elie Dawang was born to Lithuanian-Jewish parents, Faiwish and Shaina, in 1934 in Paris. Elie was six years old when the Germans occupied France in 1940. The Dawangs fled to a small village near the Spanish border but returned to Paris in 1941 to liquidate the family business.  The family had false papers but the

Goldig, Fishel

Fishel Goldig was born in 1933 in Mielnica, in eastern Poland. In 1939 the family found itself under Soviet occupation, following the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.  With Operation Barbarossa and the arrival of the Germans in 1941, Fishel and his family were forced into the ghetto in the nearby town of Borszczow.  Conditions deteriorated, and rumours

Peter, Avraham Haim

Avraham Peter grew up in the city of Lodz, Poland, where he was born August 12, 1926.  His parents had their own factory/business and the family was living a good, observant life, and the young Abe attended a Jewish school, and was raised in part by his grandparents.  Anti-Semitism was a reality in 1930s Lodz

CPC Oral History Project – Yom HaShoah

Thursday, April 8 was Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It’s a day  to remember and reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust, where six million Jews and millions of other innocent victims – Roma and Sinti, Slavs, disabled persons, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others  – were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.  At

Smart, Maxwell

Max Smart was born June 1, 1930 in Buczacz, Poland (now Ukraine).  He and his family were living a good life in the 1930s, and Max remembers well the idyllic nature of life in that time.  Even as events around Poland began to move towards war, Max and his family felt safe, unaware of what

Mitelman, Les

Les Mitelman is a Crestwood grandfather; his grandson Liam Stern was in Grade 8 at the time this interview was completed.  Les was born in Tarnopol, Poland on July 21, 1938, so he was only a baby when the war began, so growing up he had to learn the unspeakable and horrible lessons the Shoah

Goldstein, Ronald

Ron Goldstein was born August 16, 1923 , in London, England.  His parents, looking to escape the anti-Semitism and lack of opportunity, had immigrated to England from Poland in the years before the Great War.  They went on to raise a large family, and Ron was the 10th in a family of 11.  Ron left

Ger, Sonia

Sonia Ger grew up in Pinsk, Poland.  Her family had their own house with a bakery in the front, run by the father and his brother.  When the Nazis invaded Poland, they were moved into a ghetto. Sonia’s father opened up another bakery in the ghetto.  He made friends with the German soldiers by selling

Swirski, Walter

Walter Swirski was born in Poland on May 7, 1922.  His family lived in a small village, where they were prosperous farmers; Walter’s father owned a share in a flour mill, and had been an officer in the Soviet-Polish war.  Walter had one brother and was going to school when the Second World War broke

Zaidman, Mina

Mina Zaidman was born in Miedzyrzec, Poland, in 1934.   She lived in a small house with her parents and younger brother.  She was only 4 ½ when the war broke out and does not really remember much about life before that.  Before Germany invaded Miedzyrzec, the Russian army occupied the city as part of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact settlement.  When the

Peon, Bill

Bill Peon served in the Canadian army during the Second World War.  He was born in Toronto, where he grew up against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  With the coming of the war, he enlisted, and with basic training he was assigned to the Service Corps, designated as a truck driver.  He spent additional

Woznicki, Marvin

Marvin Woznicki was born in Silesia, Poland in 1925. Marvin grew up there in a house with his parents, his brother and his two sisters. Marvin attended grade school in Poland up to Grade 4. He had a happy childhood in his early years growing up, until all of that changed. Marvin was only fourteen

Krakauer, Renate

Renate Krakauer is a child survivor from Poland.  She was born in Stanislawow, Poland just as the war began, in what was at that time the Soviet zone of occupation.  Life was relatively normal until 1941, when the Nazis broke the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact and headed east into the USSR.  Suddenly the Jews of Stanislawow

Hubert, Judith

Judith Hubert was born in a small town in the eastern part of Poland.  Her father was an artist and her mother helped to maintain the family store.  As a young girl she lived a charmed life, going to a Hebrew school and learning ballet.  All of that ended abruptly in 1939:  the war started when

Zweig, Seymour

Seymour Zweig was born in 1921 in Lodz, Poland. After the Nazis invaded, Zweig was forced to flee to Russia, where he spent the remainder of the war. In Russia, he joined the army and did war work in an aluminum factory, where he even worked alongside German prisoners of war. After the war, Zweig

Tylman, Andrew

Andrew Tylman was born in November 1933, and he grew up in the town of Sochaczew, Poland. His early life took place in a largely Jewish milieu,and the family was prosperous, vacationing in Glowno and prominent in the community. The onset of the war changed the situation dramatically; as violence in his small town began

Rosenberg, Nathan

Nathan Rosenberg is a survivor of the Second World War and the Shoah. While so many Jews were caught up in that terrible period of history, Nathan and his family were fortunate to escape, and what makes their story different is that they escaped to the east, into the heart of the USSR. When their

Javasky, Ruth

Ruth Javasky was born in Poland in 1929. Her family owned a store prior to the war and people would throw stones through the windows when the store was closed. In 1942 her sister was taken away from her family. The rise of anti-Semitism was rough on her family as she was eventually taken away

Hoffer, Lou

Lou Hoffer was born in the northern province of Bukovina, Romania in a small  town called Vijnitz. His exact date of birth is uncertain; however, it was around 1927. In 1939, the Russians and the Germans had invaded Poland making the neighbours to the north no longer under Polish rule but Russian. A  year later

Israel, Guta

Guta Israel was born in Sandomierz, Poland, where she was one of seven siblings. The Germans invaded her hometown when she was 13, and the full weight of the Shoah hit soonafter. Polish Jews were quickly placed in ghettos, and while many were murdered in short order by the SS, Guta was among those selected

Goldstein, Jacob

Jacob Goldstein was born in Lodz Poland on April 12, 1928. Growing up he had 4 siblings, his older brother Ali, his younger brother Yossi, and his younger sister Ettel . The city of Lodz was the second largest city in Poland.  There was a population size of around 600 000, of which 250 000

Langer, Manny

Manny Langer was born June 6th 1929, in Lodz Poland to a large Jewish family, with three sisters and two brothers. Before the beginning of the Second World War, his family had a successful Kosher dairy business. In the morning he attended Hebrew school, and in the afternoon Polish school. In addition to Hebrew school,

Frydrych, Aileen

Aileen Frydrych was born in the early 1930s to a Jewish family living in what was then known as Poland. Aileen who was originally named Hiya lived in Eastern Poland which is now part of Belarus. Aileen remembers the days when she first started school around 1939 when her town as occupied by Russia. Two