My mother was Dina Fainkind and my father is Isaac Kornbaum. My mother was in the ghetto of Lodz until nearly the end of the ghetto. Then she and my grandmother were taken to Auschwitz, where my grandmother perished in the selection process. Mother was then transferred to Ravensbruk and then to a women’s camp by the Elba River.
As the war was coming to a close, the Germans told my mother and the other Jewish prisoners not to rejoice because they had wired the camp with explosives, which they would ignite the next day. However, early that next morning, when the Germans heard a report that the Russians were hours from the camp, they ran away, fearing for their lives.
My mother and the other Jewish women were left alive. They were liberated by the Russians. The American army soon followed.
My mother, who was under five feet, weighed less than 80 pounds, and the bones of her skeleton were clearly visible under her skin. The sores from malnutrition on her legs were so deep, they were not healed a year later, when she met my father. The liberators brought food to the surviving Jewish prisoners, but unfortunately some died from overeating. My mother said that although she was starving, she controlled her eating in order not to get sick. But her severe malnutrition and the harsh conditions she endured did require hospitalization in a hospital supervised by the Americans.
When my mother was released from the hospital, she returned to Poland but found no one left from her family. She made her way to a Kibbutz in the Polish city of Lignitz that was run by the Jewish Zionists. This was where my father met her, fell in love with her, and married her.
After the pogrom in Kielce, my parents stole their way across the border to Austria and a displaced persons camp on the American side run by the organization named UNRA. My parents left all of the documents and even their families’ photos behind, when they stole across the Polish border illegally. The displaced persons camp was near Kassel, Germany. I was born on year later. My parents gained liberty and kept their love, family, Jewish traditions and religious practices, and democracy.
Submitted by Brenda Brams, daughter of Dina Fainkind and Isaac Kornbaum.