Born: December 25, 1920, Jaslo, Poland
The Blonder family lived in a two-room apartment in the back of a store. Edek was the third of eight children. His father eked out a meager living by tutoring students in Jewish subjects, and beginning in 1930 he worked distributing food vouchers to the poor.
1933-39: After graduating from secondary school, I was invited to play soccer professionally on the local Club Maccabi team, which was part of a Jewish soccer league. Club Maccabi arranged for me to attend trade school to learn cabinet making at night so I could practice during the day. I was 18 and had played my third professional game when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. By September 7 they had reached Jaslo.
1940-44: The ghetto in Jaslo was set up in winter 1941. I was put to work doing menial jobs for the Gestapo, which included maintenance work at the Gestapo headquarters. One day I was stopped by one of the Gestapo who was drunk. He beat me on the side of my face and demanded, "Where can I find the rich Rothschild family from France?" I told him repeatedly that I had no idea where he could find them, but the more I said this, the more he hit me. Because of this beating I permanently lost some of my hearing.
Edek spent the next four years in concentration camps, including Auschwitz. His entire immediate family perished in the Holocaust. Edek emigrated to the United States in 1946.
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