Balabanow, Bill

Bill Balabanow was born February 17, 1926 in the little town of Blue Ridge Summit in southern Pennsylvania, though the family moved to Lancaster in 1931, and that is where he spent most of his childhood.  Bill’s parents divorced when he was an infant, so his parental and family memories come mainly from his mother’s

Palimaka, Jozef

Jozef Palimaka was born May 9, 1926, in Czaple Male, a village not too far from Krakow, Poland.  His parents had a small farm there, though they made the decision to relocate to Czarne Konce, near Lviv, a few years later, when they purchased a larger farm with an orchard.  As Jozef was the oldest

Forster, Wolfram

Wolfram Forster was born October 22, 1925, in Berlin, Germany.  He grew up in that city during the interwar years, witnessing the political changes that were taking place around him as he attended school.  Wolfram’s father was a Great War veteran who became a police officer, and who later fired when he refused to join

Boneham, Tom

Tom Boneham was born March 21, 1923 in Warwickshire, England, where he grew up on a farm in the village of Shotteswell in the Stratford-upon-Avon district, not too far from the town of Banbury.  His father Tom worked that farm with Tom’s mother Hilda; the two of them had met after Tom’s father was discharged

Doduck, Marie

Marie Doduck was born May 10, 1935 in Brussels, Belgium.  She was a young child when the war began, but given the intensity of her experiences, she remembers those early days well.  She grew up in a large Jewish family in Brussels, one that had a long history in Poland.  When the war came the

Gross, Daisy

Daisy Gross was born April 20, 1939 in Nitra, Czechoslovakia.  She grew up there, and had a good life by all accounts; her father had a good job, and she and her parents were doing well, alongside their housekeeper Tonka.  But the tone changed with the war:  Daisy’s father ran a sugar beet refinery, and

Stockhamer, Vivian

Vivian Stockhamer was born in Lida, Poland in 1936 to Leibel Litovitz and Charna (Boyarski) Litovitz. Her father had 10 siblings and her mother had 3 siblings, all of whom were married with children and many of whom were living in Lida prior to the outbreak of World War II.  From 1939 to 1941 Lida

Gropper, Rae

Rachel (Rae) Gropper (nee Kruger) was born March 3, 1941.  Her parents came from Poland, where they had made a life for themselves in prewar Warsaw.  They shared memories of that with Rae at a later time, as she was born during the war, and they also told her about the bombing of Warsaw in

Burston, Ben

Ben Burston was born November 29, 1924 in Kielce, Poland.  Ben’s parents made the decision to emigrate to Canada – to escape anti-Semitism and to find better economic opportunities.  They settled in downtown Toronto, in the Kensington Market neighbourhood.  Ben’s mother died when he was quite young, so he was raised by his father in

Moczulski, Edward

Edward Moczulski was born in Brest, Poland.  Edward’s family ended up in the Soviet zone of occupation after Poland was divided in the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.  Life continued in these new circumstances, but then in 1940 a Red Army officer appeared at the family’s door, looking for Edward’s older brother.  The family did not

Goldman, Ralph

Ralph Goldman was born in Iwaniska, Poland on July 25, 1921.  He came to Canada as an infant, early in the 1920s, and he grew up in downtown Toronto against the backdrop of the Great Depression.  The economic situation forced him to leave school when he was only 14, and he went to work to

Wozniak, Stanley

Stanley Wozniak was born January 9, 1928 in Warsaw, Poland.  He was born into a large family of 11 children, and they grew up in a positive environment in the 1930s, though the coming of war in 1940 impacted the family dramatically.  They had been living in western Poland, but the aftermath of the German

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