In the spring and summer of 2007 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum hosted a public program series featuring survivors of the Lodz ghetto. The survivors discussed from their own personal perspectives what it was like to experience a community struggling to live in spite of the most difficult circumstances during the Holocaust. This public program was made possible by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.
Leon Merrick was born Zgierz, Poland in 1926, the older of two boys. In 1940, Leon and his family were forced into the Lodz ghetto. In the ghetto, Leon worked in the post office, delivering letters, milk and ration cards to the ghetto's residents. Four years later he was taken to a forced labor camp in Kielce, Poland, where he worked in an ammunition factory. After three months, Leon was moved twice, first to another forced labor camp in Poland and then to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. In March of 1945, as Allied forces closed in on Germany, Leon was moved to another concentration camp, Flossenberg, and then forced onto a death march, from which he was liberated in April 1945. Several years after his liberation, Leon immigrated to the United States and served in the U.S. Army during the early 1950s. Today, Leon Merrick lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with his wife Nina, also a survivor of the Holocaust. He is one of many Survivor volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Learn more »
Dr. Salomea Kape was born in May, 1926. In 1940 her family was imprisoned inside the Lodz Ghetto with other Jews. She attended the ghetto high school and her mother worked as a midwife in the ghetto hospital. The family stayed in the ghetto due to her mother’s intuition in August 1944 during the liquidation of the ghetto. They survived there until the liberation by Red Army in January 1945. After liberation, Salomea was able to complete her education and graduated from medical school in 1952. In 1957 Dr. Kape and her husband Mendel left Poland. Their son John was born in 1963 in Israel. The Kape family moved to New York in 1966. Dr. Kape currently resides in New York.
Chaim Kozienicki was a student in a Jewish school in Lodz, and a passionate reader of books since second grade. He was eleven years old when the Germans invaded Poland and occupied Lodz. In March 1940, the Kozienicki family was forced into the Lodz ghetto. During the liquidation of the Lodz ghetto in August 1944, Chaim tried to avoid deportation, but he got sick and was taken to the hospital. His mother came to visit him every night after work. One day she didn't come -- this was the day she and Chaim's father were deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered on arrival. Learn more »
Marian Turski was born in 1926 in Lodz; his birth name was Moshe Turbowicz. The Germans invaded Poland in 1939, and in 1940, Moshe, his parents Eliasz and Helena Rachel, and his younger brother Wolf, were forced into the Lodz ghetto.Moshe attended the ghetto high school and joined a Communist youth group. In August 1944, the Turbowicz family was deported to the Auschwitz killing center, where Moshe’s father and most likely his brother were murdered upon arrival. He was later transferred to the Buchenwald concentration camp, and was liberated at Theresienstadt after surviving a death march from Buchenwald. Moshe returned to Lodz, where he was reunited with his mother. Later he married Halina, a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto. Since the end of the Second World War, Marian Turski has had a distinguished career in Poland as a journalist and Jewish activist.