Born: ca. 1874, Pultusk, Poland
Raised by Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish parents in the town of Pultusk in central Poland, Shmuel married in the late 1890s and moved with his wife, Gisha, to the city of Warsaw. Shmuel owned and operated a bakery on Zamenhofa Street. In 1920 the Bursztyns and their eight children moved to larger quarters in a two-bedroom apartment at 47 Mila Street in the Jewish section of the city.
1933-39: By 1939 six of Shmuel's children were grown and on their own. Only his youngest son and daughter still lived at home. Shmuel had given up his business and was working for the Kagan Bakery, one of Warsaw's largest kosher bakeries. Germany invaded Poland that same year, early on the morning of September 1. After being attacked for four weeks, Warsaw fell to the Germans on September 28.
1940-42: When the Warsaw ghetto was set up by the Germans in November 1940, the Bursztyn's apartment ended up within the closed-off ghetto. Shmuel continued to work at the bakery, which was also within the ghetto. His youngest son, Motl, worked in a German-run factory in the ghetto. Before dawn on April 18, 1942, as Shmuel was returning home from the bakery, he was picked up on the street by German soldiers who were arresting people engaged in jobs not directly controlled by the ghetto's German administration.
Shmuel was killed in Warsaw by the Germans in April 1942. He was 68 years old. Three months later his wife was deported to the extermination camp at Treblinka.
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