Today I spoke with Dan Mendelson of Rehovot. I found Dan's name while checking the Yad Vashem reports online that had been submitted for the Klotz family from Vilna. Fruma Nitzani née Klotz Z"L was my neighbor in Rehovot and I wanted to find more information about her family. The only Klotz reports that I found from the Vilna area (Ilja) were submitted by Dan, who interestingly enough also lived in Rehovot.
Here is what Dan told me:
I was born in 1924 in Warsaw, Poland. My mother, Faige Ester née Rudnia, and father, Mendel Mendelson, had three children. The oldest, Rosa, was born in 1920. In 1925, a year after I was born, they had another daughter, Sala (Sara). My father and his brother Israel Mendelson decided to travel to the U.S. when I was a baby or perhaps even prior to that. After going first on their own to try their luck, they liked what they found, and therefore sold all of their belongings when they returned to Warsaw. After liquidating their assets, they traveled back to New York, where they bought a place to stay and a business (a small factory in New Jersey for undershirts and related items). They then returned to Warsaw one last time in order to bring their family to America. However, on the ship, my father became sick with typhus and he died as soon as the ship landed. (Talking to Dan, I realized that many of the details are unclear to him. In another conversation he said that he was under the impression that his father was buried in the New York area. According to a relative who he met in the 1970s in America, this was not true. He was actually buried in Mexico, so obviously there is some mystery about the details of his father's passing.) Thus, my mother, at the time only thirty-two years old, became a widow with three children (ages seven, three and two) to support. (In another conversation, Dan said that his mother was pregnant with his sister when his father died, which would have made the father's death about two years earlier.) Since my father had sold all of the family's possessions in order to move to New York, all of the money that my mother had was legally in the U.S., where she could not go without a man to support her. After several months, my father's brother sent $5,000. My mother's siblings in Warsaw urged her to return to Ilja, where she could buy a home and live next to her wealthy parents. However, my mother refused – she was an independent secular woman of the city who loved the theater. How could she go back to the little shtetl and live under the thumb of her very controlling mother and extremely pious father? The lot of a widow in a little shtetl was very grim at that time. As for me, the family insisted that as the only son, I should at least live with my grandparents so I could get a good education and the right moral support. My mother consented, and so from age three to about age thirteen, I lived with her family in Ilja (1927 - 1938).
My mother's parents were Shmuel Rudnia and Freydka née Broyda. They lived in Ilja their entire lives. Shmuel Rudnia was a learned man, a graduate of a Yeshiva (Vholozhin?, Ilja?) who had studied the Torah for all his days. My main interaction with him was fetching religious books for him from all corners of his study room. The room was filled with books but he knew where each and every book was located. I had
the impression that he did not originate from Ilja since he had no relatives there. Ilja had three synagogues: Chabad, Mitnagdim and the third for Jews who were tradesmen. Grandfather had a very highly regarded seat in the synagogue of the Mitnagdim since he sat in the third seat away from the ark. The seat was paid for by his wife, who also paid for the fourth and fifth seats from the ark for my uncle and us (the young boys of the family). Others would always mingle when they came to the synagogue, but my grandfather was a loner. He did not seem to care about such concepts as "social life." Grandfather became very sick when I was still a young child. He traveled with my grandmother to Warsaw to get an operation, but he ended up dying in Warsaw and was buried in the cemetery there. (I found more information online about Shmuel Rudnia, the grandfather of Dan. I emailed the director of the cemetery where his grandfather was buried and received pictures of the gravestone. The grandfather passed away in the summer of 1928. He was seventy-one years old and born in Ilja to Tzvi.)
My grandmother Freidke was a very dominant and energetic woman. She was known as the richest woman of Ilja, and invoked fear, respect and envy in others. Even when her husband was still alive, he did nothing for the business. She ran everything and was very proud of her husband's education and pious nature, a husband who spent his days studying. She held such esteem in the community that her husband was known as Shmuel Freidkes (Shmuel of Freidke). There were all sorts of enterprises that she was involved in. She had an iron products store (for smiths), a clothing store, a grocery store for food and dry goods, a shoe store and a store for paper garments which were specially made to bury the gentile deceased. She also sold tobacco, for which she needed a special permit. She made a deal with Yankel the gravedigger (who had served in the Polish army) because he had received a wound in the army service and was eligible for that special permit. Since her home had a basement made of bricks, she received the only permit in the entire area to keep repositories of gasoline in her basement. She sold the gasoline to the five or six noblemen who lived in the area (one was Graf Bogdonovitz). They owned cars and had chauffeurs to drive them from their palaces in the farming communities to the big cities where they had other homes. The policemen who used
motorcycles also got the gas from my grandmother. Grandma received the noblemen with great respect and served them cake and drinks, so that they would continue to patronize her. She also received great admiration from the simple gentiles. Farmers from all around the area came to our home every Fall with their teenaged daughters and stood in line, hoping that my grandmother would pick their daughters as temporary maids. They did this so that their daughters could learn how to serve "city people" before they married. Grandma would keep their daughters as servants for one year in exchange for merchandise. Grandma had one regular live-in housekeeper by the name of Mania. Mania, who was about the age of my aunt (born circa 1905), spoke perfect Yiddish and knew all the Jewish rules and celebrations. She did all the cleaning and cooking which was strictly kosher. She would call my grandmother solely to do the blessing before seasoning, curing, or putting certain food in the oven. I only learned some months after I arrived that Mania was not Jewish.
We lived in a two-story brick home in the central market (the top floor was made of wood). On the top floor lived my aunt Chaike and her two sons, Moshe and Shmuel, and Chaike's husband, Chaim Klotz (from Dolhinov. His sister Rudel Kaidnov? and sons Chaim and Alter also lived in Dolhinov. I checked with Leon Rubin and found this information about the family). On the bottom floor lived my grandmother in one room. I shared a bedroom with the housekeeper Mania. The bottom floor had two reception/living rooms. One room was used for the paritzs (wealthy noblemen) who came to make deals with my grandmother. Besides selling them goods, my grandmother would also lend them money. Sometimes they were not able
to pay her back and in exchange they gave land to my grandmother. Jews would also come to change money with my uncle. They would bring my uncle the dollars they had received from relatives in America and in
return, he would give them Polish money. In time he had many dollars in reserve. My grandmother attained much land from the noblemen and Asadniks, Polish people who were brought to local settlements by the
Polish government, since our area was predominantly Belarusian (Provoslavs) and Jewish before the Polish rule (1920). The noble men would be served with tea and delicacies by Mania. I remember one time, while the chauffeur was waiting for his master, my uncle asked him to drive my little cousins and me around Ilja. How envious were all the other children of us--the privileged children sitting in a moving automobile!
When the gentiles from the farming communities came to procure necessities, socialize and drink alcohol during the market days (which were once a week on Wednesday in Ilja), they used the bigger reception room. Grandmother's home ran like clockwork. Every Monday was laundry day and in those days, doing laundry was a big production. Some clothes were washed in the river, while other garments were washed in a pail with water from the well near our home. The river water was considered to be of higher quality. Tuesday was inventory day, when we would get ready for the market day on Wednesday. Thursday, during the daytime there would be baking of challah and buying of meat (Aunt Chaia went to the Kosher butchers). There would also be fish (hecht) which the gentiles brought from the river and Karpiyon fish, which were raised in special pools. Thursday was also the day that women used the common bathhouse (Mikve), which cost money. At night, Grandma and Mania would polish the floors. I loved watching them clean the floor. They would tie rags to their feet and walk across the red floor, back and forth, until it shined
perfectly. Friday, Mania would cook the food for the Shabbat meals. Everything was cooked from scratch on the huge oven which was warmed with wood. (There was no electricity in Ilja, except for two homes near the mill which produced their own power.) Friday lunch was a light meal (latkes or some cheese pastry), so that we would have a good appetite for the Friday dinner. After lunch it was the men's turn in the bathhouse. The young children were washed every day with boiled water in pails near the homes. When we grew older, we joined our uncle in the bathhouse every Friday. We would bring clean underwear with us and leave all our clothes in the waiting room. Naked, we would enter the steam room, which had no windows. Here there were different floors that one could sit on and only the very brave amongst the children could reach the top (third) floor, which was very hot. I always only pretended to do so. The men would hit each other with special dried plants which were tied together. There were also pails filled with water to cool us off. We would then return home and put our Shabbat clothes on, and the men would go to pray Maariv. My grandmother and aunt each had their own set of candlesticks. They were very expensive and kept under lock and key for the rest of the week. Many times during the Friday evening meals or holiday meals, we would have guests. Sonia née Alperovicz from Dolhinov would come, as well as friends of my uncle. Sometimes even the non-Jewish noblemen would come as well. For me, Shabbat meals were sometimes like nightmares. When I was five I was put in the best heder to study reading and Torah. It was the heder of Ruvke from Dolhinov. Every Shabbat, Rabbi Ruvke would be invited to a different household of one of his students (but only the homes of the well-to-do students). When it was our turn, he would ask me questions about my studies in front of everyone. If I did not know the answer, my grandmother would become furious and say, "Why do we pay so much money for your studies if you are so lazy?" Every Saturday, my grandmother would go to the synagogue. Uncle Chaim Klotz also went to the synagogue.
My aunt Chaike stayed at home with the children and did not act nearly as pious once her mother left. Chaike was a very tidy woman, a perfectionist really. She would rearrange her closets using different colored ribbons for each shelf. She arranged her mementos and albums perfectly and one time, while showing one of her albums to a friend, she pointed to whom she said was her brother-in-law, who had passed away in New York. I became very excited since I had never seen a picture of my father and as soon as she got distracted, I stole the picture. The picture, which showed my father from the waist up, was too big to fit into my pocket. I cut everything off from the neck and below and always looked at it. After a few days my aunt discovered to
her horror that her album was no longer perfect and that a picture was missing. I was an immediate suspect and I had to return the picture, which in its smaller version, did not fit the perfect arrangement in the album.
We, the three young kids, loved to jump on the beautiful chair that only Grandma would use, as soon as she left. Sometimes during Saturday meals (which were served by Mania), Grandma would ask Mania to take the candlesticks off the table and then she would sit with us. Mania's face would shine with happiness during such times. Sundays would be free days for Mania, and she would meet up with her mate (I am not sure if they were married). Together they would attend church and Mania did not return until Monday. (She had a chuta nearby).
Grandmother was very stern and demanding with all of her family members. Many times she would get upset with her daughter Chaike for "buying the wrong thing" and yell at her for not listening to her requests. As for her son-in-law Chaim, she inquired about his religious practices and often made sure that he had put on tefillin that day. The marriage of Chaike and Chaim was an arranged marriage, as were the rest of the marriages in the family (except for the marriage of my parents which I was told was based on love). Chaim came from a poor family and was chosen as a groom because he was very learned, clever and handsome. He was a bookkeeper by profession and Grandma utilized his business savvy, making him the liaison between her, the smith, and all the suppliers in Vilna. She also had him run the iron enterprise, as well as order all the products from Vilna. Most of the time, Chaim was sent to Vilna with a list for inventory.
Every so often, his wife Chaike would go to Vilna with him. Six days a week, Chaike and Grandma received customers at the house -- which was open for business every day but Saturday. Grandma understood the value of having a business that had a good reputation. She provided very good service; there was a diverse inventory and prices were always reasonable. All the products came from Vilna. They were sent by train
to Krasne, and then Nachke the wagoneer would pick them up from Krasne and bring them to Ilja. Most of Nachke's work came from supplying Grandma's business. Grandma showed a mixed attitude toward her son-in-law. She respected his great abilities in business, but would often remind him that she had lifted him out of a life of poverty. Chaim Klotz felt great camaraderie with me, "the orphan who sat at his grandmother's
table." He would often tell me that the well-to-do are not necessarily noble of spirit and that a poor mother could be nicer than a rich grandmother. His son Moshe was like a true brother to me. He would often share with me whatever he received from his parents. His younger brother Shmuel was more distant like his mother Chaike, who was indifferent to me. Mania was very caring toward me and hugged me often. She would make sure that I prayed every day, and reported to Grandma about my progress. She never told Grandma when I broke something or got in some sort of trouble. I feared Grandma greatly. She was easily enraged and hated the fact that I was such a picky eater. As soon as we would return from school, the family would eat lunch together. We would eat soup and meat and I hated soup. Grandma would yell at me to "eat my soup" and "sit straight," while Mania would force-feed me with a spoon.
One of my best friends was Melech Bronstein. (He was the brother of Bat Sheva Rier. Melech perished in 1942.) and I would often spend time in his house. They had a garment store, and his mother Yente was a bit like my grandmother. She was the dominant one in the family, the one who ran the business and her husband Yehuda merely the assistant. Yehuda became sick one night while I was at their home and a doctor was called. Yehuda died during the night and the funeral was the next day. I attended the funeral and saw his body covered with a white garment and put directly in the ground. I was very afraid that night, and slept in Mania's bed. When grandmother found me in Mania's bed in the morning, she gave me a hard spanking. Still, I loved sitting by the women and listening to their idle chat. No one ever spoke directly to me about my family. Eavesdropping was the only way to find information about my family and I was very eager to know about my father, who I remembered nothing of, and my mother and sisters, who were not in my life. Once in a while we received a letter written in Yiddish from Palestine, from Grandma's oldest daughter Dvora Shmotkin. Next to our home lived Grandma's brother, Shalom Sheftel Broide, who had very bad relations with his sister due to quarrels about property. Sheftel was the father of Arie Kopilovitz's mother. (Arie Kopilovitz wrote much of the Yizkor book for Ilja.) Another son of Sheftel Broide, Yaakov Broide, was a teacher of religious studies in Ilja. I loved Shalom Sheftel Broide. Whenever I needed a little compassion from a man, I would go to visit Sheftel and his wife. In the later years, Nechama -- the daughter of the Wagoneer -- became the book keeper of the business and despite having so much work, she always found time to care for me and was very warm toward me. Another sister of Freydka was the wife of Zemach Shapira and the mother of the Shapira brothers, who immigrated to Mexico from Ilja. The brothers later financed most of the Ilja Yizkor book. Zemach and his wife were still alive when I first arrived in Ilja. I remember a funny story that they told me about Zemach. A gentile woman in search of scarves had come to their store one day, and Zemach's wife was not around. He put a scarf on his red hair, tied it under his red beard and asked the woman if it looked good. The vision in red seemed so insane to the woman that she ran out of the store in great fear, screaming that she had seen the devil. After Zemach and his wife passed away, my grandmother inherited some of their land (because all their children lived abroad) while some other relatives inherited their house.
In between Grandma's home and that of her brother Shalom Sheftel lived the widow of Avraham -- Chave Broide -- and her two younger children, Chaim and Alter. Her daughter Chaia lived in another home. Chave was not on speaking terms with my grandmother. Each home in Ilja had a cow and our cow lived in a barn in the backyard. During warm days (when the ground was not covered with snow), the non-Jewish shepherds would take all the cows up to the meadows. In the winter, the cow would stay in the barn, and Mania would feed her warmed potatoes and other vegetables. Our bathroom was outdoors and covered with temporary walls. During the winter when everything froze, the walls would be taken off, and the place would be cleaned. During the winter, we warmed ourselves with the huge furnace that faced the bedrooms. Such
furnaces were so big that you could sleep on top of them to keep warm. Shmuel and Freidka Rudnia cared a great deal about studies. They made sure that their eight children (four boys and four girls) would receive a good education. Of the four sons, two lived in the Soviet Union since before the revolution (most likely since the First World War). Avraham Rudnia became a physician and lived in Leningrad. Davidke Rudnia was a pharmacist and lived in Baku. The two other brothers lived in Warsaw. Leib Rudnia (born circa 1890) and his wife Rachel had four children. Leib studied in the Yeshiva (Ilja?, Volozhin?) and received his rabbinical papers. Just like his father, Leib spent all his days studying. He had an income from an apartment building which he owned in Warsaw, and did not need to work as a rabbi. The other brother Hirshl Rudnia (born circa 1892), who had a wife and two children, also lived with his family in Warsaw. He was a pharmacist and was the only brother who worked for someone else. The four daughters also received an education, but they were tutored privately. Dvora married Yosef Shmotkin, who was very involved with Chabad (as were the rest of his family). They came to Eretz Israel circa 1927, and settled in Rishon LeZion. Before they left Warsaw for
Palestine, they purchased an apartment building in Warsaw; in Palestine they lived off the rental money. Shmutkin was highly ranked in the "Sokhnut" as the head of the culture department. Gitel married Yisrael Halbershtat and had two children. They were merchants, importers of dried fruits and other delicacies, and lived in Warsaw. Mother worked for them as a bookkeeper. Only the youngest daughter Khaike lived with her family in Ilja. As I told you before, she married Khaim Klotz and had two children, Moshe and Shmuel. I think the Rudnia family left Ilja during the First World War. The area of Ilja suffered greatly during the years of the war; it kept changing hands and many people left for the interior of Russia. I think that is why some of their children married and settled in Russia while others married and settled in Warsaw. Only the youngest daughter Khaike returned with her parents to Ilja immediately following the war.
As I said, my first school was the Heder of Ruvka. There were about twenty children in the Heder. Every morning at ten, we would eat bread and milk together. The well-to-do parents sent the meal with their
children while the poor children received the meal from the community. It was done without the knowledge of the kids, so as not to cause embarrassment. Later, I attended the public school in Ilja. Every Friday in the public school, the kids would split up according to their religions. Jews would study with my uncle Jacov Broide in one area. The Polish-Catholic kids would study with a priest and the Belarusian Provslav kids with their minister. I remember how excited I was when my paternal grandparents came for a visit. They were on their way to a new place, maybe to America. They came bearing presents and amongst them was a magnificent toy animal pulled by a string. How proud I was of this toy! I do not remember my grandparents' names but I remember that my grandfather was tall and very respectable. When I grew older, my grandmother became worried about my Jewish education and decided to send me to a Tarbut school where subjects like Jewish literature, history and math were taught in Hebrew. Since the Polish government had rules about mandatory education, we also had classes in Polish language and history. Since there was no such school in Ilja, my grandmother enrolled me in the Tarbut School in nearby Dolhinov. I remember that as she was taking me to the family of Shmuel Leib Alperovitz (born 1874) -- whom I was going to board with in Dolhinov -- she said, “They are called the ‘Stases Alperovitzes.’” Shmuel had originated from the little neighboring village Stas. Shmuel's wife, Shoshana Reizel née Shapiro, was born in Ilja in 1884 and she most likely was related to us. I spent the next two years at their home in Dolhinov. They had four daughters who were much older than me. (They really had six children according to Yad Vashem reports.) The daughters were Zionists and spent some time in Hachsara camps preparing to make aliyah to Eretz Israel. The daughters Chaika (Sade) and Yehudit later came to Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh. Chaika's husband (Sade) is alive and well in the Kibbutz. He is now ninety-six years of age and I talk with him on a regular basis. One Alperovitz daughter Sonia went to Argentina. The other daughter Teibe (Peliskin) perished in Dolhinov.
My mother only came twice to visit me because the trip to Ilja cost her one-and-a-half times her monthly salary from the store she ran, which sold dry fruits and was called 'Mendelson Esterka.' The dry
foods were supplied by my uncle, who was an importer. The first visit was in 1934. It seemed that Mother was the extreme opposite of Grandma; she was very warm and affectionate toward me. She must have
felt extremely guilty for leaving me in Ilja with her mother. The second trip she made was for my bar mitzvah. When Mother discovered that I was wearing the hand-me-downs of her sister's son who was a
year and a half younger than me (I was very small for my age), she became furious. She was also very mad about the little effort that her mother had put into my Bar Mitzvah celebration. Grandma was known as a
tightfisted woman and many whispered behind her back that she did not give sufficient donations to charity. The only thing with which she was generous was the education of her family members, but even to the Tarbut School -- which was being built in Ilja during those years -- she did not donate as much as she could have. The school was never used by the Jewish children since the War started as soon as it was ready. But back to my mother -- Mama screamed at her mother and immediately decided to take me back to Warsaw.
At age thirteen, I came to the big city of Warsaw, to a mother and two sisters that I did not know, to new uncles and aunts with their children, and to the brother of my father. I found a very different world in Warsaw. We lived in a huge apartment complex in Warsaw; our apartment was #110. We shared a toilet with ten other apartments. Our tiny apartment contained a kitchen with running water and a stove, a bed which my two sisters shared, and a sofa for my mother. My mother gave me her sofa to sleep on and used a roller bed for herself. After a short time, I was able to convince her to exchange our sleeping arrangements, and she got back the sofa. None of my young relatives spoke Hebrew, Yiddish or "Goyish" (The language which had been common in the area of Ilja was a mix of Belarusian, Russian and some Yiddish words). In Warsaw, everyone spoke Polish and attended Polish public schools. Since my knowledge of the Polish language was limited, I was held back one year and put in the same class as my younger sister, Sala. Sala was furious. She was an excellent student and a true genius, and she even tutored other children in all subjects. But now, she was burdened with a brother who spoke the language badly. She did not know me at all and was unhappy about my sudden arrival. They transferred her to another class.
My older sister was very different toward me. She was my champion and loved me dearly. She was great at sports, especially at swimming in the Vilia River. She was a take-charge kind of girl, and had a job in a store while attending school. My mother did not celebrate any Jewish holidays. She loved the theatre, and she received complementary tickets once a week since she was good friends with three actors from the Ida Kaminskaia theatre. She worked for her brother-in-law in his store, which was under her name as a bookkeeper. Her brother-in-law was very well-off and his family lived a very different lifestyle. Despite their wealth, his daughters were envious of our Alperovitz relatives from Dolhinov who had made aliyah to Eretz Israel. Haberstat, as well as mother's other brother-in-law Shmutkin (who would come to Warsaw from time to time to take care of his business) were kind to Mother. They would give her money without the knowledge
of their wives (who were my mother's sisters). As soon as I learned that my father's brother had a store in Warsaw I became obsessed about meeting him. Many days I watched from afar the comings and goings in the liquor store he owned. Finally, I had a chance to visit the home of my father's brother in Warsaw. I recognized him immediately as the man I saw in the liquor store. He seemed to be very well-off. The party had been for his son who had graduated (from the University?) and was about to go off to France. I never found out what happened to any of my Mendelson relatives in Poland, France or the U.S. Today I don't remember his first name. My uncle Yosef Shmotkin came to visit in 1939. Everyone was talking about the war to come, and he wanted to give his papers to another Jew who was highly ranked in the Zionist party so he could leave Europe. It was not to be, and my uncle returned to Palestine.
Very rapidly our situation deteriorated. During August of 1939, the Soviets and Nazis signed the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and Britain and Poland signed a Mutual Assistance Treaty. On September 1, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany, but it was too late for Poland. Much of it fell into German hands, and on September 17, the Soviets annexed the eastern parts of Poland, including the area of Ilja. Warsaw was the longest to keep the enemy at bay, but we did see German planes. After heavy shelling and bombing on September 27, Warsaw finally surrendered to the Nazis. Beginning in late September, German officials required Warsaw's Jews to wear white armbands with the blue Star of David. On German orders, Jewish community leaders named candidates for a Jewish
council (Judenrat), whom the Germans would then confirm. The German authorities closed Jewish schools, confiscated Jewish-owned property and conscripted Jewish men into forced labor. They dissolved prewar
Jewish organizations and left Jews to manage their own welfare or self-help organizations. Our home was located in the area which later became the Warsaw Ghetto. Since we lived in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, Mother would not let us leave the apartment since there was much kidnapping and torturing of Jews. Across from our apartment the Germans established a station to distribute soup to the people who were practically starving. The line for food was longer then a kilometer and while waiting, the Jews with beards would be made fun of. Half of a man’s beard would be cut off and he would be made to sing and dance. One day, two German soldiers entered our apartment. They sat on the sofa and simply ate their food. Since that day, they started coming in and sharing food with us, and we did not have to stand in line. Still I
was curious and one day while standing at the entrance to our home, I saw a German truck arriving. The soldiers picked a certain number of men who were standing in line for food and ordered them to go into
the truck. I walked closer to see who was being taken, and all of a sudden I was thrown into the truck as well. We were taken to a place by the train tracks and ordered to transfer a huge amount of tar very rapidly. It was very hard work. We worked the entire day and then ordered to sleep outdoors. The next day we had to do the same. Then all of a sudden, a German soldier kicked me and ordered me to run. I was sure that he was going to kill me. I ran as fast as I could and he did not seem to care. It took me a long time to get home. The
family was very worried when I arrived. They had not known where I was. The German soldiers who would visit our home (they were older soldiers who were only used for guard duty) told my mother that she
should take her children and go to the Soviet-controlled area. He said, "As bad as things are now for the Jews, they will get much worse."
At just about the same time, a relative from the Altman family arrived in Warsaw from the Soviet-controlled area. He was a Polish soldier who had become a POW of the Soviets. He said that to be a POW of the Soviets was much better than to be a Jew in Nazi Poland and together with a friend, he planned to return to the Soviet-controlled area. My oldest sister and I decided to join them and go to Ilja. Mother decided to stay with my younger sister, since she did not think that Sala would be able to survive such a difficult journey. The German soldiers supplied us with food for the long journey and Mother sewed the address of her two brothers who lived in the Soviet Union inside the seam of my warm jacket. It was December of 1939. We attempted to take the train out of Warsaw. Since Jews were not allowed to take any public transportation, we tried to be more discrete by sitting in different areas of the train, but one of the Polish passengers immediately started yelling to the German guards, "Jews! Jews!" I was kicked out of the train. I walked to the next station and met my sister and the two friends. (They had left the train at the next stop to look for me.) We decided to walk out of Warsaw since we found that at railroad stations between Warsaw
and Bialystok, Jews were pulled off the trains to be searched. Many were brutally beaten and robbed. We walked on trails which passed through the forest but were still near the main roads. Whenever we heard motorcycles coming, we would hide since the Nazis mostly used motorcycles. We did not walk fast and after a week, we arrived to a river which could only be crossed by a bridge guarded by the Germans. Altman told
us to be quiet and told the Germans that our homes were on the other side of the river. They did not pay any attention to what he said and only said, "Go back to Warsaw." We met a Polish farmer who lived on the other side of the river and had a horse and buggy. We gave him some money to help us and we sat on the buggy. However, as soon as we arrived at the bridge, he yelled, "Jews!" The Germans kicked us out of the buggy and the farmer took our backpacks with him. The third time we arrived at the bridge we were somehow able to cross it. Shortly after, we met a man who had served in the Polish army before the war. He said that he wanted to help us, but we did not believe him. Finally he was able to convince us that he was a good person. We went with him to his house where he fed us and gave us a place to sleep. He was even able to track down the farmer who took our belongings and after a day, he came back with our backpacks. We
continued on our journey and soon came near the border, where two German guards noticed and captured us. The senior guard told the other to take us to the headquarters. After a short walk, the German soldier opened our belongings and chose a shaving kit. He told us that we were free to go and advised us to take another road which would be less guarded. We were able to cross the border and on the other side we encountered Soviet patrol sitting by a long table. They welcomed us and gave us a note which stated the date of our arrival to the Soviet Union. They told us of a little Jewish shtetl nearby, where a Jewish family fed us and gave us a place to stay. From there we traveled to Biyalistok.
As soon as we arrived to Biyalistok, we realized that we were merely part of a massive exodus. Massive waves of Jewish refugees had streamed into Bialystok from Polish cities under German occupation.
Since there was no room to accommodate all of us, many refugees slept outdoors despite the winter weather. Ultimately, the Soviet authorities required all refugees in Soviet-occupied territory to obtain a Soviet passport and become citizens of Russia. Those who obeyed this regulation were permitted to travel freely. We decided to take the train to Vilna. We arrived in Vilna and were met by Jewish volunteers who helped the numerous refugees descending upon Vilna. We asked them if they knew Mr. Cholem, an iron dealer who was the main supplier of my grandmother's store (and he might have been related to us). They told us how to get to his home. We arrived there and were fed and given a place to sleep. In the morning, the police came to the house. People said that the Soviets planned to exile Mr. Cholem to Siberia. (Interestingly, when I (Eilat) searched the Yad Vashem site for reports submitted for Cholem from Vilna, I found reports by Miryam Klotz of Kfar Gibton, a city next to Rehovot. Miryam Klotz is the widow of Fruma Nitzani's brother. So Dan and Fruma Z"L are somehow two times connected.) We left and took the train to Krasne. In Krasne, Altman hired a farmer to take us by horse and buggy to Ilja. Grandmother could not believe her eyes when we arrived. She said "Why did you come here? If I were any younger, I would go to the German occupied area myself." How naïve the people were! They did not want to accept that the Germans were so evil. "They are civilized, this is the 20th century!" the people said. After some days Altman and his friend left. My sister befriended Gitel, the daughter of David and Rivka Chakin. Together they moved to Vilieka and worked for the administration. David Chaikin had a good job with the Soviet administration. After some time the Soviet
authorities realized that my grandmother was well-off and therefore an enemy of the people. They confiscated her home and most of her belongings. She and the family of my aunt were given a tiny apartment
next to the graveyard and Mania stopped working for her. David Chaikin even warned me that it was a bad time to be associated with a grandmother who was known as a rich person. At the end of 1940, I left Ilja forever.
When I found my sister, she sent me to the social services so they could arrange for a living place and some schooling for me. I ended up in an orphanage in the Vileika area. I hated the orphanage because it was run by anti-Semites. I soon escaped and looked for my sister. Gitel Chaikin told me that my sister had lost her job since they fired all of the people who did not speak Russian well and replaced them with people from the Soviet Union. Gitel told me that my sister had discovered that my mother and younger sister were practically starving in Warsaw under Nazi occupation and she decided to return to Warsaw to try to help them. My uncle Chaim Klotz dealt with people who smuggled goods across the border to Nazi Poland. He had much money in reserve that could not be used in the Soviet controlled area since it was Polish Zloty and American dollars. The people who smuggled across the border exchanged the money for him. He became once again well-to-do and moved with the family to another home. He asked one of the smugglers to check on the relatives in Warsaw and that is how the information on their difficult situation came to light. My sister did not want me to know about it since she wanted me to stay safe in the Soviet territory. She knew how attached to her I was and decided to leave without telling me. Having no other choice, I returned to the social services. When the man who had sent me to the orphanage realized that I was already sixteen (I looked younger than my age), he sent me to a boarding school in Minsk. It was a school which trained the youth to be part of the labor class. This program trained the Youth of Stalin to build the future Soviet society by 1) making us good and productive citizens of the Soviet Union, 2) teaching us the doctrine of Soviet society, and 3) giving us military and job training. We had extensivetraining in building homes. Among us, there were other Jews who had come from towns in former Poland, towns in western Belarus, places like Molodechno, Vileika and so on. There were four boys with the last name Kopelovitch with me. Two of them were brothers from Vileika.
While in Minsk, I took the opportunity to send letters to my two uncles in Rudnia, brothers of my mother whom I had never met. I received an answer from my uncle in Leningrad, who was a physician. He
thanked me for my letter and sent me some money. I never heard back from the brother in Buku. I also received letters from my grandmother in Ilja. She told me that my sister had never made it to German-occupied Poland. She had been caught on the border, arrested, and placed in a Soviet jail for political prisoners somewhere near Baranovitz. In July of 1941, shortly after I received the letter, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Pandemonium ensued immediately and together with my Kopolovitch friends and others, we decided to go west out of Minsk to try to reach our families. Pretty soon, we realized that this was near impossible because the Germans had been able to take over western Belarus very quickly. We were somehow able to get on the last train to Witbesk. We then separated and I traveled deep into the Soviet Union. I had different jobs in various factories, but life was hard. Our only payment for hard labor was a meal. Although I had not liked to eat a lot as a child, my main concern was now to procure food. There was famine everywhere and the meal we received at work was not sufficient. After some months, I decided that it
was better to die fighting the enemy as a well-fed soldier than as a starving civilian. Since I had a checkered past (as far as Soviet society was concerned since I was a former Polish citizen), I was told that my best option lay in joining the Polish army that had been established in the Soviet Union. I wanted to join the Anders army. I would like to provide some information about that army despite the fact that they rejected me. In the wake of talks between the Allies and Stalin, Anders had set up an army consisting of Polish citizens who "had been sent to the East," meaning that they had been banished to Siberia. He armed them with weapons funded by Moscow and led them from the Soviet Union to British Mandated Palestine in order to get back to Europe. Poles flocked to the recruitment centers and Ander's army left for Palestine via Iran. From there, they left for Italy, where they took part in the attack on the Monte Cassino monastery where
German artillery had fortified itself. They fought alongside the Western army.
I ended up joining the other Polish army. Wladyslaw Sikorski, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, had convinced the Soviet Union to create another Polish military unit which fought the Germans
alongside the Soviet Army. Although I missed the first battle, I ended up joining this second army. My troop was named after Vanda Vishlavska, the famous Polish writer. For political reasons, after conquering much
area, we stopped near Warsaw. We did not enter Warsaw because the Polish army wanted (supposedly) to liberate Warsaw on its own so that Stalin would have no hand or claim in it. There was much controversy. Meanwhile, I was sent to a special corps for military training and when I returned, we were finally allowed to take a small part in the liberation of Warsaw. We entered Warsaw crossing the river from Praga on January 17, 1945. As soon we entered, I told my commander that I was a native of Warsaw. I was still naïve, not knowing the magnitude of the atrocities committed by Germany. I told him that I would like to check on my mother, my sister, and the rest of my family. He told me to take two other men with me and gave me a leave of six hours. I returned after just one hour because there was no resemblance to the Warsaw that I had known. The whole city (about 85%) had been demolished and no buildings of the past in the Jewish area) were still standing. I went to where I believed my mother's house was and saw that only one wall remained. I walked by the stores of my uncles and there was absolutely nothing. I had to face the fact that I would not find anyone alive. The whole town had been razed. Slowly, as we liberated the area I realized that the earlier rumors that Jews were being killed, rumors from recent war refugees in the Soviet Union, rumors I did not believe were actually true. I never found out any of the details of the demise of my family members in Warsaw. (I (Eilat) found the name of Dans' uncle Leib Rudnia on a list of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland. Lejb Rudnia, son of Shmuel and Frajda, was born in Ilja in 1884. He was an apartment building owner by profession. He lived on Mila 24 M. 5 with his wife. He later died of rak zoladka (cancer of the stomach) in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941).
We continued liberating the area and finally, we reached Berlin. At one point, we were attacked by the Germans and a few of our comrades were killed. We took over the area and captured some German soldiers. Among them was an SS member and since I was the only Jew, my Polish comrade handed me a gun
and told me to kill the man. The man begged for his life and said that he had family and children waiting for him. I couldn't do it and I refused to kill him. Another non-Jewish soldier took the weapon from me and killed him. Finally, the war was over and I went to the town of Lotz. I was still hoping to find information from family members who had survived. My grandmother had died the day before the city was liberated. I also found out from a man in Ilja who had been in the same jail as my sister that she was a political prisoner. He said that all of the criminals were released from prison the day the war started, but many of the political prisoners had been shot. He did not see my sister being shot, but he suggested that she might have met her fate this way. After the war, I met with some survivors from Ilja and found out that Grandma had passed away two days before the Germans arrived in Ilja. My uncle and his two sons had been killed before the action. My little girl cousin, who was born after I left Ilja, had been given to ou rold housekeeper Mania for safekeeping by the child's mother, Chaike Klotz. Mania, afraid that her neighbors would inform the Nazis about the Jewish girl in her care, surrendered her to the Gestapo. The four-year-old girl was killed. After the war, some Jewish survivors took revenge on the neighbors who were directly responsible for the
death of Jews. Mania was killed for her deed too.
I realized that one way to find out if any family members had survived was to write to my aunt and uncle in Palestine, the Shmukins. I had no address, but I remembered the name of the town. I put on the letter: "To the Shmukin family Rishon Lezion, Palestine." In no time, I received their very happy response. If anyone survived, they would have contacted the Shmukins. I assumed that my other relatives had not survived since they never contacted the Shmukins.. Eventually, I hoped to join the Shmukin family in Palestine. I joined the Zionist youth movement and we helped Jewish refugees who came from all over the Soviet Union trying to reach the west. We would be sent regularly to the trains to search for such people who passed through Lodz, a central location where many refugees from the Soviet territories passed through on their way to the west. (Between 1945-1948, Lodz was the de facto capital of Poland since Warsaw had been destroyed.) One day, I met a young Jewish girl from the town of Chelem, Poland, who together with her family, had escaped from occupied Poland to the Soviet Union sometime at the beginning of the war. She was looking for family members from whom she had separated in the Soviet Union and she did not know if they had survived the famine. I was very protective of her and all my friends laughed at me, joking that I had
a big crush on her. I later realized that they were right. We got married and I was determined to take us to Palestine, but when she found her mother and sisters after we were able to cross the border and arrive in Austria, she wanted to go to the United States with them. I was able to convince her to go to Palestine. (One of her sisters also came to Palestine.) When we arrived in Israel (during the war of independence), we lived in the city of Ramle. We already had one daughter and another daughter was born a few years later. At first, I did some work cultivating orange groves in the town of Rehovot. I wanted to live on a kibbutz, but my wife refused. I had met someone from the kibbutz Naan and he had offered me a job in the enterprise of building materials. Eventually, after many years, I ran the enterprise. I was able to establish contact with the other survivors from Ilja. I met relatives from the Shapiro family in Mexico. One of the brothers was buried in Israel. My wife went to visit her relatives in the United States. She got in touch with the Shapiro brother in the US and was able to visit a factory that had once belonged to my father in New Jersey. She received a product from this factory. Some years later, when I visited the Shapiro brother, I asked to see the grave of my father, which I assumed was in the New York area. He informed me that my brother was not buried there and
was actually buried in Mexico. However, I felt that there was something they were hiding from me. I never found out what the true story was. Throughout my life, I recall many conversations where I was just a listener. Since I had lost all the adults in my life at the age of fifteen, it has always been very hard to validate my memories and sometimes, the memories confuse even me. I now live with Rehovot near one of my
daughters. I have four grandchildren. My other daughter married an American man who works for the World Bank. She also has two children and they are always on a mission in some foreign country.
The Yizkor book for Ilja has a page about Dan and I am pasting a translation of the page by Milette Shamir here:
Danchik was what we called him in town because he was so small and thin for his age. He was dark and had burning eyes. Although he was born in Warsaw he spent most of his summers at his grandmother Fridka's house in our town. So it was every year, until disaster struck and his father died. Since then he became a citizen of our town and moved in with his grandmother. One image of his orphanhood is especially engraved in my memory and is there to this day: Danchik saying his Kaddish prayer for the soul of his father. Since he was so small, he was put on a bench so that the Kaddish would be heard in public and his voice echoed in the space of the synagogue.
Every once in a while his widowed mother would visit from Warsaw, but when the war erupted, Dan and his sister returned to town. Before long the new regime drafted the young for labor school and like others of his age, he too was taken to the camps beyond the Ural mountains. (He returned on his own after the invasion by Germany.) There he suffered unimaginably from hunger and lack. Eventually he escaped from camp and using sophisticated means managed to be drafted in the Polish army where he
spent the duration of the war. When he was stationed in eastern Prussia in a good non-combat position, he found out about the survivors and their reorganization toward aliya. By coincidence he ran into "Ha'shomer Ha'tzair,” 35 people in Warsaw, and they convinced him to desert and to join them for aliya. To this day
Danchik gets excited when he talks about that incident. With all his youthful fervor Dan devoted himself to the task of organizing and concentrating the survivors. The fire of love to Eretz Yisrael now burning in his heart made him restless, and he fought with the leadership to hasten his aliya. The struggle was persistent,
because the leadership did not want to forgo the active, enthusiastic and persistent youth, but they were eventually forced to give him up and allow for his aliya. In the midst of the operation he met his future wife and mother of his children, and both crossed the border in the middle of the night on their way to Austria. There, a great wonderful surprise awaited his future wife - she found a large part of her family alive.
His Zionist action continued in Italy too, but on a different plane. There, his daughter was born, and thus his aliya was detained for a while and he only came to Israel after the second cease-fire. As a new comer still living in an olim camp he was temporarily released from army service to allow his family to settle down. However, immediately after being absorbed in Ramle, he was drafted in the I.D.F. for two years. During his army service the army conducted retaliation operations against the enemy at the border and Dan participated in those.
Yad Vashem reports by Dan:
Faige Ester Mendelson née Rudnia was born in Ilja, Poland to Szmuel
and Frida. She was a merchant and married to Mendel. Prior to WWII she
lived in Warszawa, Poland. Faige died in the Shoah at the age of
forty-five. This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted
on 29/06/1999 by Dan, a Shoah survivor, from Israel.
Roza Mendelson was born in Warszawa, Poland to Mendel and Faige. She
was single. Prior to WWII she lived in Warszawa, Poland. Roza died in
the Shoah at the age of twenty. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony submitted on 29/06/1999 by Dan, a Shoah survivor, from
Israel (More Details).
Sala Mendelson was born in Warszawa, Poland in 1925 to Mendel and
Feiga. She was a child. Prior to WWII she lived in Warszawa, Poland.
Sala died in the Shoah. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony submitted by her brother.
Leib Rudnia was born in Ilja, Poland to Shmuel and Frida. He was
married to Rakhel and had four children. Prior to WWII he lived in
Warsaw, Poland. During the war he was in Warsaw, Poland. Leib died in
the Shoah at the age of fifty-one. This information is based on a Page
of Testimony submitted on 14/04/1999 by his uncle, a Shoah survivor.
Yisrael Halbershtat was born in Warszawa, Poland. He was a merchant
and married to Gitel née Rudnia and had two children. Prior to WWII he
lived in Warszawa, Poland. During the war he lived in Warszawa,
Poland. Yisrael died in the Shoah at the age of fifty-five. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 14/04/1999 by
his sister-in-law's son.
Hirsh Rudnia was born in Ilja, Poland to Shmuel and Frida. He was a
merchant, and had a wife and two children. Prior to WWII he lived in
Warsaw, Poland. Hirsh died in the Shoah at the age of forty-eight.
This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
14/04/1999 by his sister's son.
Khaia Klotz was born in Ilja, Poland to Shmuel and Frida. Khaia was in
Ilja during the war and died in Ilja at the age of thirty-five. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted by her sister's
Shmuel Klotz was born in Ilja, Poland to Khaim. Prior to WWII he lived
in Ilja, Poland, and he died in Ilja, Poland at the age of thirteen.
This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
14/04/1999 by his cousin, a Shoah survivor.
Heniek Halbershtat was born in Warszawa, Poland to Yisrael and Gitel.
He was a student. Prior to WWII he lived in Warszawa, Poland. During
the war he was in Warszawa, Poland. Heniek died in the Shoah at the
age of nineteen. This information is based on a Page of Testimony
submitted by his cousin. (More Details)
Others report about Dans' family members:
Benjamin Rudnia was born in Poland in 1920. He was single. Prior to
WWII he lived in Warsaw, Poland. During the war he was in Warsaw.
Benjamin died in the Shoah. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony submitted on 22/03/1957 by his friend Aliza Beser of Holon.
Rakhel Rudnia was born in Warszawa, Poland in 1915 to Avraham and
Khana. She was a clerk, and single. During the war she was in
Warszawa, Poland. Rakhel died in 1943 in Warszawa. This information is
based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 23/06/1955 by her friend.
Jached Rudnia was born in Poland in 1920. She was a student, and
single. Prior to WWII she lived in Warsaw, Poland. During the war she
was in Warszawa. Jached died in the Shoah. This information is based
on a Page of Testimony submitted on 22/03/1957 by her friend.
Rascha Rudnia was born in Poland in 1915. She was single. Prior to
WWII she lived in Warsaw, Poland. During the war was in Warsaw. Rascha
died in 1943 in Warsaw. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony submitted on 22/03/1957 by her friend.
Moshe Rudnya was born in Minsk, Belarussia in 1890. He was a shoemaker
and married to Basya. Prior to WWII he lived in Minsk, Belarussia.
During the war was in Minsk, Belarussia. Moshe died in 1943 in Minsk,
Belarussia at the age of fifty-three. This information is based on a
Page of Testimony submitted by his neighbor.
Menucha Korb née Rudnia. Prior to WWII she lived in Kaunas, Lithuania.
During the war she was in Kaunas. Menucha died in Kaunas. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 30/11/1977 by
her husband's cousin.
Rahel Rudnia was born in (Undecipherable) in 1897 to Malka. She was a
housewife and married to Yosef. Prior to WWII she lived in Wolozyn,
Poland. During the war was in Wolozyn, Poland. Rahel died in Wolozyn,
Poland. This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
31/03/1957 by her daughter Ester Grinberg of Natania.
Ynda Rudnia was born in Wolozyn, Poland in 1915 to Yosef and Rakhel.
She was a housewife and married to Yaakov. Prior to WWII she lived in
Wolozyn, Poland. During the war was in Wolozyn, Poland. Ynda died in
Wolozyn, Poland. This information is based on a Page of Testimony
submitted on 31/03/1957 by her sister Stain Miska.
Miska Stain was born in Vholozhin in 1912 to Yosef and Rakhel Rudnia.
She was a housewife and married to Moshe and had two children; Yosef
and Rakhel. During the war she was in (Undecipherable). Miska died in
(Undecipherable). This information is based on a Page of Testimony
submitted on 31/03/1957 by her sister.
Jankiel Brojdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1891 to Khana Batia and
Sheftel. He was a merchant and married to Tzipora. Prior to WWII he
lived in Ilja, Poland. During the war he remained in Ilja, Poland.
Jankiel died in 1942 in Ilja, Poland with children; Chaia, Binyamin,
Shlomo and Sara. This information is based on a Page of Testimony
submitted on 08/02/1956 by his nephew (son of his sister) Arie
Gita Kopelowicz nee Broide was born in Ilja, Poland in 1889 to Khana
Batia and Shaftel. She was a housewife and married to Aba. Prior to
WWII she lived in Ilja, Poland. During the war she was in Ilja,
Poland. Gita died in 1942 in Ilja, Poland. This information is based
on a Page of Testimony submitted on 08/02/1956 by her son.
Alter Brojdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1918 to Avraham. He was a
student, and single. Prior to WWII he lived in Ilja, Poland. During
the war was in Ilja, Poland. Alter died in the Shoah. This information
is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 25/04/1956 by his
Chaia Brojdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1919 to Avraham. She was a
merchant and single. Prior to WWII she lived in Ilja, Poland. Chaia
died in the Shoah. This information is based on a Page of Testimony
submitted on 25/04/1956 by her relative.
Chaim Brojdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1921 to Avraham. He was a
student, and single. Prior to WWII he lived in Ilja, Poland. During
the war was in Ilja, Poland. Chaim died in Ilja, Poland. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 25/04/1956 by
Chawa Brojdo was born in Radyszkowicze, Poland. She was a merchant and
married. Prior to WWII she lived in Ilja, Poland. During the war was
in Ilja, Poland. Chawa died in Ilja, Poland at the age of fifty-five.
This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
25/04/1956 by her relative, a Shoah survivor.
Dwora Brojdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1917 to Avraham. She was a
student and single. Prior to WWII she lived in Ilja, Poland. During
the war she was in Ilja, Poland. Dwora died in the Shoah. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 25/04/1956 by
Beila Kulbak née Broydo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1880 to Volf and
Yakhna. She was married to Shalom. Prior to WWII she lived in Minsk,
Belarussia. During the war she was in Minsk, Belarussia. Beila died in
1942 in Minsk, Belarussia at the age of sixty-two. This information is
based on a Page of Testimony submitted by her daughter from Russia.
Chava Pruzan née Broide was born in Ilja, Poland in 1890 to Shimon.
She was a housewife and married to Mordechai. Prior to WWII she lived
in Kaunas, Lithuania. During the war she was in Kaunas. Chava died in
Kaunas. This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
01/03/1956 by her son-in-law. [Submitter's Last Name KRONZON,
Submitter's First Name AVRAHAM, Relationship to victim SON-IN-LAW]
Neuch Brojdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1913 to Bentzion and Sara. He
was a merchant and single. Prior to WWII he lived in Ilja, Poland.
During the war he was in Ilja, Poland. Neuch died in 1942 in the
Shoah. This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
25/04/1956 by Yehoshua Lapidot.
Bencjan Brujdo was born in Ilja, Poland in 1880. He was a merchant and
married. Prior to WWII he lived in Ilja, Poland. During the war he was
in Ilja, Poland. Bencjan died in 1943 in Ilja, Poland. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 30/12/1955 by
Ester Kopelewicz née Broide was born in Ilja, Poland in 1914 to
Bentzion and Sara. She was a housewife and married. During the war she
was in Ilja, Poland. Ester died in 1942 in Ilja, Poland. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 11/07/1955 by
her cousin David Rubin.
Tajbl Pliskin née Alperovitz was born in Ilja, Poland in 1905 to
Shmuel and Shoshana. She was a housewife and married to Yitzkhak
Peliskin. Prior to WWII she lived in Dolhinov, Poland. During the war
she was in Dolhinov, Poland. Tajbl died in 1942 in Dolhinov, Poland.
This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
01/04/1956 by her sister Chaia Sade of Kibbutz Ramat Hachovesh.
Szoszana Alperowicz née Shapira was born in Ilja, Poland in 1884 to
Yaakov and Gitl. She was a housewife and married to Szmul Leib and had
six children. Prior to WWII she lived in Dolhinow, Poland. During the
war she was in Dolhinow, Poland. Szoszana died in Dolhinow, Poland.
This information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on
01/01/1956 by her daughter Chaia Sade of Kibbutz Ramat Hachovesh.
Baruch Szapiro was born in Ilja, Poland in 1901 to Shepsel and Ita. He
was a pharmacist and married to Malka Broide and had a son Menashe.
Prior to WWII he lived in Ilja, Poland. During the war he was in Ilja,
Poland. Baruch died in 1941 in Molodechno, Poland. This information is
based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 27/04/1958 by his cousin Sonia Gorfinkel.
Barukh Shapira was born in Ilja, Poland in 1897 to Shepsel and Ita. He
was a pharmacist and married to Malka and had two children: Yocheved
of age seventeen and Menashe of age twelve. Prior to WWII he lived in
Ilja, Poland. During the war he was in Lebedja, Poland. Barukh died in
1941 in Molodeczno, Poland. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony submitted on 10/11/1955 by his cousin Dvora Robonzik.