Jozef, also known as Josel, was one of six children born to Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish parents in the town of Zvolen in central Poland. Jozef became a shoemaker and married a Jewish neighbor. After living in Warsaw for several years, Jozef and his wife, Hannah, settled in the industrial city of Radom near their hometown. There, they raised their three sons.
1933-39: Jozef's three sons finished school and went to work at a young age. Jozef had stopped making shoes himself and was cutting and selling leather to manufacturers instead. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. German troops entered Radom seven days later. All the Jews living on Radom's main street were evicted from their homes, including Jozef's two oldest sons, Elya and Itzik. Elya's family moved in with Jozef and Hannah.
1940-42: All of Radom's Jews were forced to live in one of two ghettos established by the Germans in April 1941. Jozef and Hannah moved in with Itzik, their son, who was living in a shack with his own and another family. Itzik supported them by making clothes for the Germans and smuggling food into the ghetto. In August the Germans began liquidating Radom's two ghettos. On the night of August 17, 1942, Jozef and his wife were rounded up, marched to the railroad, and herded into a boxcar.
In August 1942 Jozef and his wife were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp, where they were gassed upon arrival. Jozef was 51 years old.