Born: 1923, Kaluszyn, Poland
Chaie Sura was the youngest of three children born to Jewish parents living 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small, predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. Her father owned a wholesale grocery store, a restaurant and a gas station, which were located together on the busy main road. The Kisielnicki family lived in rooms in the same building as their business.
1933-39: When Germany invaded Poland several days ago, my father and brothers fled eastward towards the USSR with other Jewish men who were afraid that the Germans would send them away for forced labor. Soon after, German forces fought Polish troops in a battle at Kaluszyn and half the town was flattened by bombs. Our house was on the outskirts and wasn't hit, so now, many people without shelter, including total strangers, have crowded into our home.
1940-44: When my father and brothers heard that Kaluszyn had been bombed, they returned home to see if Mother and I were all right. Kaluszyn's mayor chose my father to be on the Jewish council. My father, in turn, chose my brother Abram for the Jewish police and my brother Majlich for the Jewish sanitation committee. As for me, I often work in the communal kitchen with my mother and grandmother. Food is scarce in the Jewish ghetto for poor families who have nothing to trade on the black market.
On September 25, 1942, 19-year-old Chaie Sura and more than 3,000 other Jews were deported from Kaluszyn to an extermination camp, where she perished.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC