S: Morris's Memories
FC: Morris's Memories
1: This book is dedicated to our father in celebration of his 90th birthday
2: Introduction Our father is an ordinary person who intended to live an ordinary life. His story, like that of thousands of other Jews who survived the Holocaust, became a public narrative in the collective memory of the world following World War II. Our father's story is not the only one written about a survivor's life. However, he is our only father. The story of the suffering he and our mother Lola endured during the war and in its aftermath, when they learned that all of their families perished and life as they knew it in their home town of Lodz was destroyed, is unique to our family and deserves to be told. We are proud that our father was able to survive and to overcome all the trauma and obstacles that befell him, to rebuild his life, to learn a trade, to become a productive and contributing member of society, to provide for and raise a family, to live a loving, meaningful and happy life. Our father's survival, endurance, optimism, and achievements are testimony to his unfailing spirit and an inspiration to all of our family. During most of our lives, neither of our parents told the kind of stories that in some families become the core of rich family legends. There was no reminiscing in the Lipson household. Our parents wanted to shield us—and perhaps blot out for themselves—the horrors etched in their memories from the Holocaust years. Edie had just a few shreds of information and experiences from their war years and only tiny bits of anecdotes from more normal times. There was a story or two from Sweden and Buffalo that she could retell only in a few sketchy sentences. Cis recalls hearing both Morris and Lola relate their Holocaust experience and memories for the first time from the videotaped testimonies they gave for the Spielberg Holocaust Archives. In her testimony, Lola said that she did not talk to her children about this period because she wanted them to have a normal childhood and to grow up without the horrors of the Holocaust casting a shadow over their lives. Morris evidently had a survivor instinct that helped him overcome these difficult years and to maintain a positive outlook on life. He often says to us, "Unbelievable! I guess I won't die young after all." In 2001, when Morris visited the site of the labor camp near Ahlem, Germany, where he was forced to work during the war, he met a group of German students there and they asked him how he was able to survive during the war. He answered that he survived for a reason: in order to live to tell others what happened to him and his family, about their suffering, and that of so many millions of others. Somewhere around his seventies, Morris began to talk about the war a bit more. A key catalyst was an invitation he received to speak on Yom Hashoah at Alon’s middle school, Solomon Schechter of Long Island. On Yom Hashoah, the school invited a survivor each year, usually a grandparent, to address the kids. Though not used
3: to public speaking at all, and a bit nervous about doing it, when Morris began to speak he spoke continuously for fifty minutes—beyond the class period—and thirty two fourteen-year-olds, three teachers, and two Agai parents sat mesmerized, hearing details about Morris’s life and Holocaust experiences for the first time. A second turning point came when Lola died in October of 2005. While sitting shiva, as Jews do, Morris recounted stories and memories for friends and family members paying shiva calls. Evenings and mornings, with just the family, Cis and Edie continued to capture his stories in bits and pieces whenever he continued to reminisce. As the notes grew, they included childhood, the Holocaust period, and afterward. This book is a collection of the memories and anecdotes that remained in the forefront of our father's mind, the ones that he put into words for us when the desire to share struck him. We are grateful to our dad for sharing with us the memories of his difficult and painful past, for creating our present memories of a happy, productive, and secure life for us and our families, and for inspiring us with his strong spirit and terrific sense of humor. We thank our Dad for this legacy which strengthens us and our families and will inspire the generations to come. Cecilia Harel, Haifa, Israel Edie Agai, West Hempstead, New York December 2010
4: I was born in Lodz, Poland, and lived there until Hitler came. I think we were there until November 1939. The family was me, my brother Leib, my older sister Marila (Machla), my father Shmiel, and my mother Chaya. My grandmother lived next door in my uncle’s apartment, but she spent most of her time with us and always ate at our house for her meals. Our house at Nowomiejska 24 was a big building, like a box, located in the business center of the city and it had a gate with a watchman and a courtyard. At Sukkot there used to be four, five sukkas in the courtyard and we ate our meals there. From our building, you could cross through to a big market. At eleven o'clock at night they closed the entrance gate, and opened it back up in the morning. We used to tip the watchman to open the gate to let us in late at night. In our building, right inside the entrance, there were steps going up. It was a four-story building with stores on the street level and our apartment was on the third floor, on the right. On the top story was an attic used for hanging laundry. | Our apartment on the third floor had one big room with two double beds, a closet and storage cabinets, a kitchen--half of it was divided off as another room--and another room that used to be a bedroom and later was used as a workroom for shoe production. This room was later rented out because the factory was moved to the basement after we were fined by the government for doing wholesale business in a retail district. | The Old City of Lodz | Solna 5 | Nowomiejska 24 | Lodz, 1920-1939
5: Morris' brother Leib, 1917?-1945 | Leib (far right) with friends in the Polish countryside | L | Leib (third from right) with friends in Poland | Leib (bottom center) with friends
6: Each family had its own lines for laundry on the fourth floor. Doing laundry was a week-long process and we hired a lady to help wash, boil, hang, press, and fold the laundry so it would be done before each Shabbos. Before Shabbos, mother used to bring the cholent to the baker next door to keep it warm for the Shabbos afternoon meal. My mother Chaya (Rozenzweig) was a housewife. She had an older sister Ethel, a brother Aaron and a sister Ruth. My father was the oldest son of four children. He had two younger brothers, Iche Meyer and Zelig, and a sister who died at a young age. She and her husband Zelver had a daughter, Sara, and two sons, Yossel and Moshe Leib. Zelver remarried and he and his new wife had a son, Yehuda Meyer who later moved to Tel Aviv. My cousin Sara (Kolodny) married, had two sons, Mark and Boris. Sara wanted to escape to Russia during the war, and she did, on foot. My last memory of them is Sara walking off across a field with a son on each side, each of them holding one of her hands. After World War II and the loss of her husband, Sara Kolodny eventually moved to Tel Aviv. Yehuda Meyer also immigrated to Israel and became a member of the Tel Aviv City Council and the head of the Agudat Yisrael party. Sara's relative, Moshe Kol, was one of the signers of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 and later elected to the Knesset. My father was a manufacturer of cheap shoes for export. My father had a permit only for retail business but he did wholesale business too. My uncle Zelig and his family lived to the right of us--he, my aunt, and two or three children. My bubbe slept at my uncle's, but was at our house much of the time. She, my bubbe, was a seamstress. She made shirts for retail stores and had a few employees. On the second floor lived Jadja Werdiger, who later moved to Toronto, and the landlord. Lodz was a big commercial city with stores and both open and closed markets. Our relatives from small suburban villages would come to stay with us and shop in Lodz. There were lots of thieves and pickpockets. Thieves would steal goods from my father when he was transporting them to the shipper. Once we had a big order for shoes that had to be shipped on time. Father tied up the boxes of shoes with rope in two big bundles and went out to carry them to the shipper. Thieves stopped him in the street, cut the rope of one of the bundles, and the boxes scattered all over the street. The thieves ran off with the second bundle that was still tied. Father grabbed a thief and threatened him so he would help get back the boxes of shoes. A few days later the thief brought them all back. My sister Marila was once robbed in the street. Thieves spit on her sleeve and while she was cleaning it, they pickpocketed her. There were all kinds of tricks. My father was a member of the Ger Hassidim. I went to school in a cheder, and hated it. I wanted to go to a better and more modern Jewish high school where I could study math, which I loved, but my parents would not let me. I used to play hooky a lot and eventually left school at age 14. I helped my father in his business. Sometimes I would go dancing with friends and on Shabbos sometimes secretly went to the movies. My mother knew, and sympathized with me. She would hide a few coins for me under the kitchen counter. Before the ghetto, but when the Jews were beginning to be discriminated against and conditions were hard, my mother felt she had to get food for the children. She put on a kind of shawl covering her head, a blanket that peasant farm women
7: wore. She went to a bakery owned by a friend from school, a German man living in Poland. The line was long, but anyway she couldn't go from the front and be seen there—a Jew. She went around the back and wandered around until she found the back door to the bakery. She lingered there and walked around until eventually the door opened and the baker came out. She stepped forward and threw the cloak off from her head. He said, “Chaya, what are you doing here?” She said her children are hungry. He piled her with as many loaves as she could carry. “Come back anytime you want and I will help you," he said. "But don't let my children see you. They will turn you in.” | Sara Kolodny | Sara and her son Boris
8: From the Lodz market square you could go into the big shul. It had two balconies of women’s sections. It was called the Altshtot Shul (Old Town Synagogue) or Stara Synagogue, because it was in the old part of the city. It was the border between the better part of town and the poorer side. It was Orthodox for us, too much. But for the real Orthodox, it wasn't considered Orthodox enough. There were lots of small shtiebelech. We went to one like that. It was right next door to our building, the next entrance. Orthodox people went to shtiebelech too. People from German descent went to the Deutsche Shul. They had their own shul and women and men sat together. The women wore huge, tall hats. We saw a picture of the shul at Yad Vashem in Israel. Before the war, it was a gorgeous shul. When the Germans came in, it was the first thing they bombed and destroyed. Lola's family lived not too far from there. | The Great Synagogue
9: At Placz Wolnosci in Lodz today, there is a statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, in commemoration of the Jewish life that was once in Lódz. Now there's something like that. Back then they hated the Jews. Atestenrat was the Jewish organization, like the Federation, but not at all like what we today think of as the Federation. It was small, but the Polish government recognized it as the official arm of the Jewish community of Lodz. When the Poles wanted something from the Jews, they went to the Atestenrat and said, “Tell the Jews...” Rumkowski was appointed Judenalteste (Elder of the Jews) of the 230,000 Polish Jews in the Lodz Ghetto. He was known all over and did big things during that time. You can read about him today. He is a part of history. | From boyhood, I remember that my uncle Zelig lived next door to us. Sometimes he worked for us in our shoe factory because he wasn't so successful in his own business. I also remember a man Diament who had a son that I played with and went to school with. I used to go to their house a lot. He made sausages and had a delicatessen store. But it was not a popular store. The quality wasn't so good and it wasn't kosher! Everything was kosher. Thousands of Jews lived in Lodz. Dishkin, just a block away, was so good that no one wanted to go anyplace else. So juicy! The fat just dripped down your arm! | The Statue of Moses
10: Lola's grandparents' home at Polnocna 1 in Lódz | Lola's parents' home at Solna 5 in Lódz | Lola’s grandparents were David and Ethel Rosenwald. They owned and lived in a building at Pólnocna 1. Lola's parents were Elimelech and Cyrla Goldberg. Lola’s family lived at Solna 5. They had seven children. Franka was the oldest, then Lola, and the others: Israel, Perla, Abram, Motel and Mojsze. Lola's father worked for her grandmother. Lola's grandmother had a wholesale textile store called Rosenwald’s. In Poland, businesses were generally named by the owner’s name. The business was very successful, very famous in the textile industry. They sold wholesale to businesses all over Europe.
11: At the end of 1939, we were told that we had to move from our home to the Lódz Ghetto, named the Litzmannstadt Ghetto by the Germans. In the ghetto, we lived a few kilometers from the Strykow border—near Wolnosci Placz, where the statue of Moses is. We lived at Bazrna 4 in one room. My father was already in Warsaw when we moved there. We got our place earlier than most people, and slowly we moved our things there, a double bed, some dishes, whatever could fit. How much can you take into one small room? How we got there was because we had a distant relative that knew Father wasn't there with us. He called my mother and said the time is coming when everyone will be moved into the ghetto. He got us an apartment there and gave her the key before everyone was chased into the ghetto, so we had time to set it up. Conditions were very tough in the ghetto by 1939. It was full of hunger, fleas, and pain. Father left for Warsaw before we moved to the ghetto because we heard it would be safer in Warsaw where my grandfather was originally from. Four families, including mine, packed up to go. My father rented a truck. He and I took our valuables from our house to our family in Warsaw. My father's thoughts were that he would check out the situation in Warsaw and would try to find a place to live and then move the rest of the family. I traveled with him the first time to help transfer some of our things--jewelry and merchandise. When we got to Warsaw and he | Lodz Ghetto, 1939-1944 | sized up the situation, he told me to go back because it will take a long time to get there and get everyone out to Warsaw, so I returned to Lódz. I rode the train back to Lodz by myself. I hid my face in the window during the whole ride so no one would suspect I was a Jew. Before we reached the Lódzstation, I saw people jumping off the train and realized something was not right and there was trouble. So I jumped off the train, too, and walked back to Lódz. I took a streetcar back to the house, also hiding my face in the window.
12: When I returned, I saw that business had picked up, and we were able to sell merchandise. So I told my father to return to Lódz. By then, there was a border between Strykow and Glowna, a place where there were summer homes. My father began his return to Lódz, taking the train back to get the rest of us. He probably paid money to people to help smuggle him. It was a trip of about seven or eight hours on the train. | Lola and Franka's residence in the Lodz Ghetto | As the train came into a station, his face pressed to the window, he too saw people jumping off and running, so he jumped off too and ran off into the woods for a while. Whenever he came upon Germans raiding the woods and searching with dogs, he went into hiding in the woods. After trying three times to get back to the Lodz ghetto, he realized he would not be able to make it through, and he returned to Warsaw with no hope of reuniting with the family in Lódz. By that time, Poland was occupied by Germany and borders were stricter, so the rest of the family couldn't get to Warsaw. We delayed our leaving because people were liquidating their assets and we wanted to save up some cash out of the shoe factory. Though we couldn't take things, we thought at least cash we could hide in our clothes. But with the closed borders, we never could get out.
13: Views of the Lodz Ghetto | There were already "machers," people who wanted to make money and would do favors for you. One of them, Shmuel, took people to Warsaw. My father met him—he knew him because his father's family bought leather from him. Shmuel told my father that every time he traveled from Warsaw he will come and pick up a letter to take back to us in Lodz. He did that for some time and brought us a few letters, but one day the letters stopped. We never saw our father again and don't know what happened to him.
14: There were bridges to get across from one part of the ghetto to the other side. Our side was liquidated first. Our family did not want to go and we ran to the other side and hid with a friend. The Germans would make a “run” and come through in the morning and call out, “Come out, everything will be okay.” But we hid in a root cellar. | By 1944 the ghetto was being liquidated. The Germans announced that people should come outside and they would be taken by truck to work places. People were rounded up by lists. When my sister and I were called, we went out to the courtyard. Crowds congregated in the courtyard, we had to line up, a guard passed by each and said “house” or “wagon.” We understood they were looking for children and the sick to send to the wagon. We knew this was something bad and people would not be coming back. My sister had thick glasses and we wanted to protect her. I told her to take off her glasses so she would not be considered handicapped, but then she could not see. I told her to walk very close to me touching my arm to guide her so she didn't seem feeble. I was so focused on guiding Marila that I tripped. I stumbled, and the Germans told Marila to go back home and told me to get in a wagon. My cousin worked as a policeman in the ghetto and died there and I had his policeman's armband in my pocket. When the Germans were not looking, I took out the armband that used to be my cousin's and put it on my arm. I was able to pretend I was an official worker and mingle in the crowd. I hid in an alley, and when it was dark, I escaped and walked back home. | Lódz Ghetto Bridge
15: In the ghetto, Rumkowski used to get calls from the Germans to round up thousands of men from the ghetto. My brother Leib's name was on a list but the family would not let him go. One day, Leib was on the list, but when the Sonnen guard came, it turned out to be his best friend, so he “closed his eyes” and left Leib alone. A friend, also on the list, turned back and told Leib to come with him. When Rumkowski came around and announced his name, he stepped forward to go. Although he stepped forward, he wanted to go home. In the meantime, frantic, we tried protectzia to get him out. A woman lawyer we knew in town successfully arranged for him to be released and Leib came back to us. If someone did not come voluntarily, his family stopped receiving food rations. A friend of the family saw us, weak and starving, and said that we should let Leib go voluntarily and at least the family would get some food. Leib voluntarily went out but somehow because of protectzia (connections), he was spotted before getting onto the truck, released and again came back to us. Conditions got better because Leib worked with food. So we had a bit more then others. He could hide a potato or two. Then, the food rations stopped, and there was no food for the family. We were almost dead from starvation; we were just lying motionless. People were rounded up by the thousands. | A street in the Lodz Ghetto
16: Eventually we said, enough, let's report in. It was August, 1944. We were all together, and we were taken by cattle wagon on a train to Auschwitz. The last I saw of my family in Auschwitz, my sister was holding on to my mother as they were told which direction to go. After about ten days, my brother and I were moved to Ahlem by Hanover, Germany. From that time on, we never found anyone who saw my mother or sister or heard about them. We now know, of course, what happened. | Train transports to Auschwitz | Entrance to Auschwitz Concentration Camp
17: In Auschwitz they sorted people. Kapos picked helpers and the rest were sent to work in factories. I was picked to work in a factory, but the managers thought I was too weak so I was sent from Auschwitz to a work camp at Ahlem near Hanover, Germany. I was assigned to work at Continental Rubber, a factory that made tires for German cars (in peaceful times) and munitions. In Ahlem I was assigned to work in a mine shaft making munitions. They poured concrete down a shaft and two men worked with an air gun to mix it. Once my partner was holding the gun. He was weak and lost his hold of it. I tried to grab and stabilize the heavy machine, in fear if we dropped or broke it we would be killed. My finger got pinched, a small pinch, but it got infected, day by day got worse, and then traveled up my arm. I knew I couldn't show it so I hid my arm and got someone to tailor a kind of glove to cover and hide my hand under the regular work gloves. I changed the bandage with a ripped shirt I found. I kept working and tried to make it look like I was working normally, although I couldn't. The fear of reprisal kept me going. However, my arm got skinny and I became feverish as the infection spread, and finally I was so sick and weak that I had to go to the camp infirmary. There were three levels of bunks there. I knew that they gave sick people Benzol to kill them. It was cold out, maybe it was March. I was put in a long, cold barrack. I didn't want to fall asleep for fear of the cold—I wouldn't have woken up—or the fear of getting killed. | Continental Rubber Factory near Hanover, Germany | Auschwitz and Ahlem Work Camp, 1945
18: The next morning I was taken to surgery to have my finger amputated. Before the surgery I cried because I was afraid that after the surgery I would be sent back to the cold room and would probably die there. Dr. Feitlowitz was scheduled to do the finger amputation. The doctor asked, “Why are you crying?” I answered, “I know this will be my end. Even if I survive, I'll go back without this finger, and that will be my end.” “Don't worry,” the doctor responded. After the surgery, the doctor put me in a small partitioned area in the back of the barracks that was reserved for kapos. It had with four beds and a heating stove in the middle of the room. There was one other “patient,” a person whose father was a lager elterster (chief of camp). His son had broken his leg playing soccer. The son had food brought in, and sometimes barked to me, “Here! Take!” and he would push a little of his food in my direction. I took. I had a bed to sleep in and it was quiet. I had a little stove and had warmth. If I found a little potato, I could roast it. So I rested, ate better, didn't work for five to six weeks, and I built up my strength and got better. When I went to Germany in 2001, I met Dr. Feitlowitz, who still lived there, and thanked him for saving my life. One day the chief of the camp came to visit his son. I panicked and hid myself under the blanket, against the wall, trying to be invisible. But the chief noticed me and shouted, "Who's that? Raus! Raus!" (Out, out!) He told me to get out and assigned me to be a night watchman. With that job, I could sleep in the daytime and at night I was supposed to get up at 3:00 a.m. and wake up the kitchen help so they could prepare food for the soldiers. This was a good job. I slept during the day and had a place to stay and even a shower. It was at the end of the regular barracks, in a partitioned off room. About twenty people stayed there, professional workers like the shoemaker and the barber. These people were treated a little better since they worked directly for the SS. There was whiskey, some cigarettes, a bit more bread. This job saved me. Sometimes I went to the workers in the kitchen and they would let me lick the leftovers in the pot with a spoon. Sometimes when I came in they had already cleaned up and I heard, "Sorry, we washed up already."
19: On a day after the kitchen was already cleaned up when I came in (disappointing), I saw a small caged room where there were piles of sandwiches that a kapo made each day for the kitchen people. I passed that room and I smelled the bread and sausage and felt my hunger pangs, and I couldn't resist. I grabbed a stack of sandwiches and stuffed them in my shirt. Luck would have it that one of the sandwiches fell apart and half a sandwich remained which the kapo noticed. I got halfway across the room and the kapo saw me. "You schwein (pig)!" he shouted and started chasing me. But I made it back to my shower room corner and put the sandwiches between my mattress. "You took my bread!" he shouted. I realized that he had seen the half sandwich and he would surely send me to the chief and I would be hanged. Each barrack block had about 200 people, with three layers of bunks and one kapo. In my barrack, the kapo was a German, not a Jew, who got caught stealing meat and therefore was in the camp. He had seen the kitchen kapo chasing me and said to him, "Fritz, what are you doing with my man?" Because he was the kapo of my barrack, he was in charge of me. He told Fritz, "Go, I'll take care of him, you'll get behind in your work." He roughly grabbed the cuff of my shirt, waited for Fritz to disappear, and let me go. Inside the factory and camp the death rate was very, very high. These little twists of fate saved me.
20: I slept in the same barrack as Heniek, the barber. He lived there because he cut hair for the SS soldiers. He also did the louse strassen for the prisoners—a buzz down the middle of your head so if you ran away, you would immediately be recognized by your “lice street” haircut. Some people did try to run away, but not one ever succeeded. They kept track too closely. Twice a day we had appel, a head-count. If they counted and someone was missing, they looked until they found him. They stood for hours in the cold. I didn't—the twenty from the partition room got do appels in the hall of the barracks. In the barracks with the partitioned area, there was a small alcove with a rabbit. I slept in the daytime when the rest of the people went to work, you remember. I saw the cage on the ground, and realized that I could dig in a little and reach into the cage. So, I made enough room so I could reach in and I took a little food from the rabbit. Occasionally, I was able to get some food from the rabbit's cage. Most people weren't in the barracks during the day. I was the night guard so I slept there during the day and woke up early in the morning to wake up everyone else—the kitchen people, things like that. Sometimes during the day I wouldn't be quite asleep and I would hear someone come in and go to his bunk for a minute. It was the barber, who would come in, slide his hand under his mattress and go out. Every hour I would see him come and do that again, and I wondered what he could be hiding. I was so curious, and one day I summoned up the courage to look under his mattress and I found hundreds of chunks of bread! My breath caught and I started to make a wide scoop with my arms to grab it all. Wait Morris, stop yourself, I said in my mind. I realized that if all the bread would be gone, he would have noticed. So I took one or two, and from then on, when no one was around, I would lift up his mattress and help myself to one or two pieces every day—enough to survive but without leaving evidence of my theft. That's how I stayed alive. The barber would give the soldiers their haircuts and they would tip him in sandwiches in return. This man, who unknowingly nourished me and helped me survive was Heniek Adler. After the war was over I was in a recuperating camp in Sweden. I met Lola, whose family I knew from home in Lodz, and we got married. I also knew her older sister, Franka, who met and married a man who was a barber in the camps--the same barber who lived in my barrack! Heniek also went to Sweden after the war. And, it just so happened that he married Lola's sister Franka and became my brother-in-law and Uncle Heniek to our family. I told Heniek, “You know, you kept me alive. In the camp I used to go to your bed and take some food from under the mattress.” He replied, “I knew there was some bread missing! If you would have just asked I would have given you some.” I smiled but I knew that in reality, he probably would have just punched me in the nose.
21: In Ahlem, my brother Leib was very sick and went to the hospital. I was told that he died. I asked to see the body and was shown a sack with his number tag on it. Leib died on March 15, 1944, of tuberculosis, a few weeks before the end of the war and liberation. With the allied troops in sight, the SS started to break down the Ahlem camp in April 1945. They gave prisoners a choice of staying in the camp or going out by foot. Mostly the sick and exhausted stayed in the camp. I decided to leave and joined more than 600 prisoners on a death march to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. | Survivors with American soldiers that liberated Ahlem Work Camp
22: In April of 2001, I was invited to visit Ahlem, Germany, and to participate in the dedication of a memorial to the Jews who perished there in the Holocaust. The memorial was designed and constructed by German vocational school students, the school on the Ahlem camp site, as part of a history project about the Holocaust. When we saw the memorial monument, I was amazed and overwhelmed to see my brother Leib's name engraved on it along with other victims. With the help of my hosts I found a grave with his name on the headstone in a nearby cemetery. It was very meaningful to me to finally have a place to say Kaddish for a member of my family. The German students asked me how I was able to survive the horrors of the war and camps. I replied, "I think that I survived for a purpose, so that I could stand before you as a witness to tell what happened to me and my family and so many millions of others." | Memorial monument near Ahlem, Germany where Morris first saw Leib's name
23: Morris saying Kaddish at Leib's gravesite
24: At the end of the war, I was freed from Bergen-Belsen by a British unit. The stronger ones among us grabbed some potatoes and brought them back. I didn't have the energy to go, but when others came back and dropped some I picked them up. We put them on a stick in the fire. The rest lay in the barracks, no bunks because the Germans threw them all outside like garbage, and there were piles, piles, of corpses outside lying on the ground. They took people from inside the barracks to drag the corpses to pits, mass graves. I was so undernourished I knew I would fall into the mass grave myself. I went under a pile of bunks outside and hid. After they took people to work, I went back in and lay back down. Some people were alive and some were probably dead in there already. Maybe I did this a week. I got sick and I got diarrhea. The Red Cross came eventually into the barrack, and they asked who wants soup. They wanted to see who was alive. Nurses went between the people. I saw they were marking an X on the people who were alive. I could hardly move and had no strength to call out. | I saw they were coming around to where I was. I sat straight up, ripped off my shirt and bared my stomach, so they put an X on me and took me to Bergen, to a military barracks converted to a hospital. I had a clean bed, a shower. But there was a broken window. It was Europe, cold, and I got a bad cough. There was a building for healthy people and one for sick. So I was in the sick one. I | Red Cross nurse with soup pot for survivors
25: After the war, when your mother told me about the conditions in her work camp, I couldn't believe how good she had it in her camp. She was able to keep clean and even had a bra. At hers, they had washed hair and were clean. In her camp, they were able to help each other, care for each other. It was more like a home than a camp. During the entire time she was there, I think only one person died. And the entire camp made a funeral for her. My situation was totally different. Mine was dirty, there were lice. Lola was with her sister Franka during the entire war. When they were sent out of the camp at liquidation, the chief there even apologized and said he was sorry, he did the best he could. “I don't know where you are going, but I have to send you,” he told the women. They were sent to Bergen-Belsen where they suffered and starved for a year until the liberation. When the Red Cross came, I looked and looked for family on lists of survivors they had. But I found none. I knew my mother and sister went to the left in Auschwitz and that my brother died at Ahlem. The Red Cross offered people care until you were healthy enough and then would pay to send you back—back to Germany or wherever. I didn't want to go back to Lodz because I knew that there was nothing there and no one to go back to. | Bergen-Belsen and Liberation, 1945
26: Drawings of Bergen Belsen, 1944, by artist Louis Asscher, grandfather of a friend of Cis in Haifa, who secretly drew pictures of the camp while a prisoner there. Published in Impressions of Life in the Waste Land. Ghetto Fighters and Beyahad Publishers, 2009. | Work huts | Appelplatz - the place for counting the prisoners | Barbed wire fence with watch tower near kitchen No. 2
27: Three-tiered beds Interior of a hut
28: Franka's Notebook Lola and her sister Franka were together throughout the war and afterwards in Sweden. They were the only two survivors of their family of seven children. Lola's father died before the war in 1939 from complications after having a tooth removed. Their mother and five younger brothers and sisters left Lodz for Warsaw in 1939 where they thought they would be safer. Lola and Franka parted from their mother and brothers and sisters at the Lodz train station and never saw or heard from them again. Lola's last memory is of her youngest brother, Avram, walking away holding their mother's hand and carrying his beloved chess set under the other arm. Lola and Franka survived the Lodz Ghetto and Bergen-Belsen together. The sisters were separated in 1954 when Morris and Lola decided to immigrate to the United States. Franka remained in Sweden | with her husband Heniek and daughter Henna and moved from Vasteras to Stockholm. Heniek died in 1970 in Sweden and shortly after his death Franka immigrated to Israel and settled in Jerusalem with Henna, who made Aliyah in 1968 and was already living there. After Franka died in 2001, Henna found a handwritten notebook in Franka's apartment containing poems in Polish, German and Yiddish, signed by Franka, Morris (Moniek), Lola and others. These poems appear to have been written during their recuperation in Sweden after the war and reveal the suffering, agony and loneliness they experienced. Their poems are presented here in English translation. | Franka and Lola in Sweden, 1945 | Franka and Lola in Israel, 2001
30: Yearning Once in my life I loved, The only time in my life. Once in my life I cried, And that was because of you. Why did you leave me so lonely? Oh my dear one, how gloomy my solitude And how blameless I am. Why is life so wastefully awful? I do not want to complain, But tell me, tell me please, my only one! You only! Only you, do I want to hear. Your words weave an endless Silent chain of roses. Franka Goldberg (Original in German)
31: Yearning II You left, where are you? I feel you near. I see you, I hear you I stretch my arms out. Not my arms, my soul And I embrace you, And I search for an answer, I must! My heart pounds like a hammer And that is all that I feel. Everything is so sublime, Never did I imagine That, how it will be with us. Our lives were to be immersed in rose petals. Suddenly with one blow Our bonds shattered, Such passionate powerful bonds. I cannot understand, it’s beyond me. So hard, so hard, I cannot come to terms with reality. | The sight of you never leaves me, Your body, your lips, the precious melodic sound of your voice, Like the scent of a rose in bloom. The past seems to have been. In this vision your soul endures. Franka Goldberg (Original in German)
32: Na Lola Goldberg About Lola Goldberg Lola sits coy, with an innocent look; Poor girl, deceiving herself, That she will get by, as the lyrics of a song, “What does a maiden dream of?” Permit me to present to you the real Miss Lola, Modest, but an original, unique blossom, Although most of the time she sits quietly, Know that she is stirred by her dreams, Dreams that rarely surface. A bit of sweet mockery, expressed by a sweet maiden, A bit of meanness, mixed with her love for mankind, A bit of harmless venom, a bit of enticement and seduction. A spicy ingredient to every offering, Making it easier to absorb. A blend of laughter and merriment, Lola probably is steaming in annoyance But, all that she loudly proclaims, Is: I’m not like that at all. Frymeta Adler (Original in Polish)
34: Dlacego? Why? May I know the reason, Why such a cruel fate has befallen us? Why so much evil, the sad verdict did not us spare? Please, give us an answer, we beg and implore, I cannot understand My pain constantly grows. Why? My mother, good as an angel divine, My brothers and sisters so brilliant Like the morning star, Perished by a horrendous death. Will you give me a reason? The pain is eternal, A crushing sorrow that torments forever. Lola Goldberg (Original in Polish)
35: Der Treum The Dream How beautiful, How beautiful is the moon And the night; From daily thoughts, she creates nocturnal dreams, Paints a portrait of youthful beauty, Blue eyes, black curls, Like a vision of loveliness. Dear one, your rosy cheeks, Like a ray of happiness, Like a rainbow, your face radiates, Deep, deep into my heart you have entered, The night has healed my wounds, Come to me my beloved, and banish all my hurt. Moniek Lipszyc (Original in Polish)
36: After the War - Sweden, 1945-1954 When the Red Cross came to Bergen-Belsen, I looked and looked for family on lists of survivors they had. But I found no one so I knew there was nothing to go back to in Lodz. Malmo, Sweden was one place to go with help from the Red Cross. Sweden agreed to accept and care for survivors of the war who were displaced persons. There was a castle in Malmo where we arrived. I stayed six months to convalesce. We had movies, we enjoyed the outside. But, I was very lonely. I had heard that there was a house with girls from Poland in a small town called Vasteras. I went to the office and said I want to go to work. They were amazed—stay and rest, why now? I said I felt better and didn’t want to sit around anymore. I want to go to Vasteras. “Why there,” they asked me. Everyone else wanted to go to the big cities where there were more survivors and more work opportunities. But they finally agreed and moved me to Vasteras when they found me work there as a shoemaker. What did I know? I polished shoes. In Vasteras I met Lola (Fajga Laja) Goldberg and her sister Franka (Frymeta). I saw that they resembled the Rosenwald family that I knew from Lodz and I recognized Franka because I used to see her in her grandparents' textile business where she worked before the war. It felt good to meet someone from my home town. Lola and I were married in Stockholm on July 7, 1946.
37: Morris and Lola recuperating in Sweden after the war... | ...and beginning their new life together
38: Vasteras, Sweden | One day, Lola and I took our bicycles and went to say hello to friends that lived at the top of a hill. We struggled to peddle uphill, and at times we even had to get off our bikes and walk. Going home, of course, was downhill—and steep. I'm faster than Lola, and I take off. Suddenly, I hear a scream behind me, “Morrrrris!” She had lost control and panicked, and didn't use the brakes. With her legs straight out, she was going down like a zeppelin, it was very steep. She was scared, and so was I. I threw my bike aside and stood in the road. I watched her coming down at top speed, and at the split second she came to where I stood, I grabbed her off. We fell—me, her and her bike, all tangled together. I saved her! | In 1947, Lola was pregnant. One day in the heart of winter I told her not to go to work on such a cold, icy day. But stubborn Lola went anyway. I came home from work for lunch, and saw Lola hiding her hand behind her back. “Nothing serious happened, it's nothing,” she told me. She had fallen walking to work and broke her arm. The “nothing” behind her back was her arm in a cast. | Scenic Old Town of Vasteras
39: Since I was now going to be a family man I wanted to get a better job. I saw an ad in the paper for a job at at ASEA, the General Swedish Electric Company. I couldn't speak Swedish. They told me, “You'll be a staderer.” I didn't know what it was, but found out when they gave me a mop. It was a cleaning person. They gave me a mop to clean -- toilets. I was a 25-year old man. I got a dictionary, locked the bathroom door, and instead of cleaning I studied Swedish. Once the main engineer came in and saw me, a young 25-year old, sitting there with a book. He took me out of the toilet and gave me assembly line work. On the assembly line, the more that you produced the more money you got. The manager was a drunk. Liquor was rationed to the workers. I didn't drink and I gave him my portion. Once the materiel master (foreman) got sick. Because I gave the manager whiskey, he let me take his position there. I thought, what do I have to lose? So I became a foreman. I liked it there—it was like Gan Eden (paradise). I made improvements for ASEA and got money rewards from them. I made three big improvements. I scheduled the production operations and supply with a chart and color-coded it with stickpins. They thought it was such a good plan. | Merit certificate from ASEA | ASEA headquarters, Vasteras, Sweden
40: The ASEA company, where I worked in Vasteras was very, very good. Once, Lola got a sore throat. It always flared up into something serious. I had to call in sick to stay home and take care of her. A little while later, there was a knock on the door. A nurse sent by ASEA was there to take care of Lola, and she took Cis to a children’s place so that she was out of the house and wouldn’t catch Lola’s illness. Cis cried at first at the children’s place. I peeked in and saw her. But the nurse was right. I stood there and waited. Soon afterwards she quieted down and stopped crying. After that, I looked in on her every day. I peeked in, and saw her, and she didn’t cry there anymore. I think the address where we lived was 2 Hammarbacksvagen, a low-rent apartment on the third floor. Maybe 1,700 kroners--who could get such an apartment then. ASEA subsidized the apartments for their employees. I paid less, and could stay there as long as I worked at ASEA. I worked there eight and a half years. ASEA was very, very good. I was materiél master (foreman).
41: Happy days in Sweden
42: AMERICA - MIAMI, 1954-1955 I signed up to immigrate to America. We wanted to raise our daughter in a place with more Jews. We got a free ticket from the URO to get from our town to the U.S. by plane. They signed me up to go to Omaha, Nebraska, I think because there were a lot of Swedes there. Our friends told us, no way, don’t go there, so I told the URO I didn’t want to go there. My wife doesn’t feel well, I told them. She has a bad heart and shouldn’t have more children. I can’t go to Nebraska. Harry Yaros, Lola's cousin from Lodz who lived in New York already when we came, said everyone wants to go to Miami. So, we asked the URO to send us there and they agreed. We found it was hot, hot, with no air conditioning like today. We rented a fan. There were bugs all over the place, under the rug in the furnished house we rented. I worked hard outdoors in the heat and got sunburned. “I want to go home to Sweden,” Lola said. “Listen, I didn’t make my fortune yet,” I told her. I was lucky just to get a job right away. A neighbor was a foreman and got me a job at the Miami First Aluminum Window Corporation. Maury Rozynes is still a friend that I worked with there. Lola kept saying, “I want to go back. It’s too hot. My sister is there and I miss her.” I told her, “If you keep nagging me, we’ll go back to Sweden. If you say it one more time, I’ll do it. We’ll go back, and no more America.” And, one day it came. “I want to go back.” I wasn’t making my fortune there anyhow. We took a boat back to Sweden. | Our house in Miami, Florida
43: BACK TO SWEDEN, 1955-1956 So we went back to Sweden on the ship to Stockholm. We arrived on a Monday back to Vasteras. On that Monday, I went to Asea to ask to be rehired. Others they didn’t take back. They took me back the very same week. It was a huge factory, 20,000 people. I worked on the second floor. There was no apartment available for us so we stayed at Franka’s place--a one-room apartment with a big kitchen. We slept in Franka’s kitchen on a bench that opened to a double bed. At work, I signed up, but apartments were difficult to get. Lola started to grumble. “I want to go back to the U.S. again.” Again?! I used strategy this time. “Listen, if you say it one more time, we're going to go back.” And you know what happened from there. We worked for a year to save up the money to go back to the United States.
44: BACK TO AMERICA - BUFFALO, 1956-1994 There was an American law that if you don’t get your passport stamped when you go out, you can’t come back anymore. Lola had nagged so much, I told myself I’m never coming back so I didn’t get the stamp when we left Miami. I wrote a letter to the consulate. I didn’t lie. I said my wife was homesick, has her sister in Sweden. I told Lola if we go back to Sweden I’m going to break my bridges with the United States. But she realized she made a mistake and felt America is the best county. I also wrote to the URO to tell them what we want, that we want to return to America. They helped me write the letter. We finally got a phone call from the URO and a letter from the consulate. It turns out that even without the stamp, you could go back the United States within one year from the date you left. They told us we have to leave Sweden by October 19th to be within the year. We couldn’t find any flights! We finally found a ship leaving from Goteborg. If the ship would not be in international waters, three miles from shore, by October 19th, we would not be able to get into the U.S. The boat was delayed—I’m totally on shpielkis. At 10 minutes before midnight, one year exactly to the day, we made it to international waters. Unfortunately, Franka had signed up to go to Israel and we had signed up to go back to America. We never lived on the same continent again. Franka's daughter, Henna, made aliyah to Israel in 1968, and Franka followed her in 1970. Where to go? Not Miami. Abe Singer, a friend from Vasteras already living in the U.S., said to come to Buffalo. The climate is good there, like in Sweden. We went to Buffalo, and moved into a small apartment at 33 Emerson Place. I didn’t have work and was bored. Abe worked in a shoe manufacturing company. Not for me anymore—I didn’t know what to do. I saw an ad in the paper that Bethlehem Steel is hiring. I went, stood in a big line. I took the diploma papers I had from some little training session at ASEA. I went in to the interview and explained that I don’t speak English well, but I gave them my diploma. They couldn’t read the Swedish, but were impressed with the gold emblems. They also gave a test. I did the math questions very quickly. But there were essays! I wrote at the top, “Here a short time. Do not read my essays.” I was one of five to be hired, even over the American applicants. We had a good life in Buffalo. We became U.S. citizens, realized the American dream and bought our first home on Taunton Place in north Buffalo, I wanted another child but Lola was hesitant. Her friends told her she would be sorry if she did not have another child. Eleven years after Cis, our second daughter Edie was born in Buffalo in 1958.
45: 444 Taunton Place
46: FROM BUFFALO TO FLORIDA Some of the mechanics at Bethlehem Steel were not good people. Once, when a guy asked me where I’m from and I said I was from Sweden, he said, “You’re not Swedish. Are you French?” “Jewish,” I said to him. He answered, “The only good Jews are the dead ones.” I got so burning mad, I grabbed hold of his shirt, though he was much bigger and stronger. The other guys at the lunch table separated us. After a work accident in 1969, I left Bethlehem Steel Company, retrained as a watch repairman and opened my own shop, Landy's Jewelry, on Hertel Avenue. After a few years, I sold the store and got a job in watch repair and jewelry sales in a new branch of Sears & Roebuck at the Eastern Hills Mall. In 1972 we moved to a single ranch style home at 57 Clifford Heights in Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo. Lola worked as a tailor in Marvin's Dry Cleaners on Hertel Avenue and we made a decent living. Lola got her driver's license and we had two cars. We visited Israel about a dozen times to see Franka and Henna and to participate in their simchas and, of course, to be with Cis and Gadi and our grandchildren. We traveled to Miami Beach, Florida for a couple of months each winter. In the hot summers we used to spend a few weeks at resorts in the Catskill Mountains. Eventually, after retiring, in 1994 we moved permanently to Wynmoor Village in Coconut Creek, Florida. Many of our Buffalo friends also moved to the same community and we made lovely new friends as well. We could rest and enjoy life. When Lola was about 80, her health began to deteriorate. I devoted a number of years to care for her on a full-time basis at home. Lola, my partner for nearly 60 years, passed away on October 27, 2005. The Wynmoor apartment at 3201 Portofino Point is beautiful and the grounds are classy. I have my routine of taking care of the house, cooking, grocery shopping and running errands. I walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. On Mondays I go to the casino with a group of friends. On Shabbos I go to shul and, even though I am not a religious person, I enjoy the service and atmosphere because it reminds me of our life in Lodz before the war. I play cards four times a week. When there's a good movie playing, I go to the the theater. There are parties from the Wynmoor Emerald Club and the South Florida Holocaust Survivors, and for the past few years I was the president of the Emerald Club. And sometimes, I enjoy a good meal at the Golden Corral restaurant. I enjoy living in Wynmoor. and am grateful for the good, peaceful and comfortable life I have here.
48: Lola Fajga Laja Goldberg, born in Lodz, Poland on December 1, 1919. Married Morris on July 7, 1946 in Vasteras, Sweden.
50: Cecilia "Cis", Cecilia Helen Harel, named after her two grandmothers, Cyrla Goldberg and Chaya Lipszyc. Born in Vasteras, Sweden on July 6, 1947. Married Gedaliahu (Gadi) Harel on November 17, 1968 in Buffalo, NY.
52: Edie Edie Agai, named after her maternal great grandmother Ethel Rosenwald. Born in Buffalo, NY on August 31, 1958. Married Eitan Agai on February 17, 1981 in Haifa, Israel.
54: Ari Ari Akiva Harel, named after his father's uncle Akiva Herscovici. Born to Cis and Gadi in Lansing, Michigan on April 6, 1973. | Quite a few years later, in Haifa, there is commotion in our apartment as we get ready for the Army ceremony I am participating in. Grandma is sewing my rank patches on my uniform, she and Mom are chatting away. It seemed almost surreal to me that we were all taking part in this together, as I tried to piece together what little I knew of the experience you two had in the war with my reality of service in uniform. It made me feel lucky to be able to stand there at the ceremony in Hertzliya, all three generations present. And just a little more than a year ago, we were in Florida celebrating your 90th birthday. You showed me the artwork you made, I can see in it your skill and such attention to detail. You asked if I want some more orange juice and a bagel of course... And I want you to know that it truly inspires me to see the good spirits present in you, the warm, kind way that you once again welcomed us to your home so we could all celebrate together. Love you and wishing you the very very best from my heart, Ari | One of the most beautiful things for me in life, is to lean back, and see how Soul touches on Soul. There are these gentle, subtle moments -- shared together -- that bring a deep sense of love and joy that is beyond time. I need only think 'Darien Lake,’ and immediately sweet summer images come to mind: we're all packed in the car, you are driving down the highway and then country roads, I'm so anxious and excited, and then the park appears! The rides and the slides, bumper cars and picnic lunch and lots of french fries, I can hear you telling me and Noam to behave one moment and grinning and laughing the next.
56: Noam Noam Haim Harel, named after his father's cousin, Haim Berkovici. Born to Cis and Gadi in Haifa, Israel on September 17, 1977. Married Aya Avivi on August 23, 2007 in Canada Park between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel. | Grandpa, I have glimpses of memory from my youngest years of Saturday mornings at your house. I recall you picking a few cherry tomatoes from the garden. I recall scrambled eggs and toast. I recall you doing some push-ups and “briefly” resting afterward on the couch in front of the TV. I also recall your voice clearly guiding me as to the “do's and don’ts” of your house. Just recently in my latest visit to see you, alongside Aya and your great grandson Ely, I encountered many of the same situations: the food, the sport, your prominent voice and your afternoon nap were all there. I wondered in amazement as to your perseverance all these years. But I could not encompass a feeling I had inside about these memories. Just as we said goodbye you drew me near. I then felt your warm hug and the soft bristle on your cheek as we kissed, and I then understood what I had felt all these years. My mind filled with memories from far and near as we parted. Those memories are the base of what I call home and heart. I do not remember in vain. I love you grandpa. Noam
58: trick was in essence one quite common amongst grandparents worldwide. It's the one where they keep a finger on one hand folded and using the other hand pretend to be able to detach the top part of their finger and then somehow glue it back. Young as I was, I had already known this trick, and thinking I was outsmarting him, I demanded to show that in fact his finger was intact. I was wrong. That middle finger was indeed severed, and Grandpa had got me again. What a great trick this was indeed! There were not many words involved in this one, and the key to it was not explicitly explained. But then and there, without spelling it out, Grandpa's subtle magic unveiled itself: the optimism, the perseverance, laughing with life, winking at the world and its hardships, and smiling all the way through. Thanks for showing us the tricks, Grandpa. Love, Liav | Liav Liav Adi Harel, named after her paternal grandfather, Avraham Herscovici. Born to Cis and Gadi in Buffalo, NY on March 1, 1986. | I recall two magic tricks Grandpa showed me in the family room in Buffalo when I was around the age of 8 or 9 that follow me always. The first – is a simple but entertaining card trick. It had it all: Grandpa maneuvered the cards impressively (to the eyes of a third grader), and with great storytelling skill built a compelling setting. In four piles, aces, kings, queens and jacks, then a storm passes by, a quick shuffle, five new | piles facing down, and--to the spectator's amazement--magic! Turning the cards over reveals them all back in order! I was nothing short of amazed and admired the poised performance. Grandpa then taught me the secret to this trick (it's all in the shuffle), and to this day it's pretty much the only worthy magic I know. I still show it to people, each time varying the background story a bit, reminiscing about that first time I saw it and how Morris had brought the illusion to life. The second
60: Tali Tali Avia Agai, named after Lola's brother, Avram Goldberg. Born to Edie and Eitan in Queens, NY on April 28, 1986. | When I was a kid, I sat at the kitchen table in Buffalo as Grandpa crafted simple long-division problems for me to solve. While he graded my answers, I plugged away at the next set of questions. I wasn’t so compliant in school, always reprimanded for misbehaving, yet I solved his puzzles obediently. Although he taught me basic mathematical functions, his lesson was fundamental to our family’s history of fortitude. When Grandpa was a boy, he was quick with numbers. As an adult, he experienced the value of a learned mind. Before the war, his family did not farm, they had no land. In the shtetl, they lived by their businesses. Afterwards, despite losing everything that he knew to be his world, Grandpa retained his education; his know-how to get by. During high school, math was not my favorite subject. However, Grandpa urged me to succeed in my studies. As I sat at the kitchen table in Wynmoor, he tested me in algebra. I took a crack at the tricky questions. When I was stuck, he encouraged perseverance by recalling familiar frustrations during his apprenticeship in Lodz. I was on my way to college, he mused. He never attended university and, fifty-five years later, that was his biggest regret.
62: Alon Alon Eyal, named after Lola's father, Elimelech Goldberg and after his paternal grandfather, Zvi Agai. Born to Edie and Eitan in West Hempstead, NY on April 3, 1990. | That familiar and comforting tune, and the lethargic feelings that accompany it, are engraved in my memory. Grandpa’s love for me fills the notes that he hummed, and I can feel its warmth within me just as I felt the vibrations of his humming. For as long as I can remember, Grandpa has been helping me to follow my dreams through his love and nurturing. I love you Grandpa, Alon | I have very few memories of my early childhood but I fondly remember Grandpa’s special ritual of singing me to sleep. Throughout my life I have always enjoyed my sleep, and as a four year old, I knew when I was tired. During the times that I was fortunate enough to have Grandpa’s company, when my eyes began to feel heavy I would reach up towards his chest and he would understand what I wanted. In the comfort of his arms, with my head resting on his shoulder, I would listen to him hum what seemed like an ancient melody. I would feel the music vibrate through me, calming my body and mind, and sending me off to my dreams...
64: Ely Ely Harel, a name that is reminiscent of his paternal grandfather Gadi's excellence. Born to Noam and Aya in Tel Aviv, Israel on November 17, 2010.
66: Summers in the Catskills
69: Coconut Creek Florida
70: Michael Kolodny | Morris, Michael & Mark | Mark & Michael | Mark, Alon & Michael | Mark & Myra (Yablon) Kolodny | FAMILY | Boris Kolodny
71: Baharav & Yaros Families | Yaros Family | At Henna's in Jerusalem | Lola & Franka's Uncle Arie Goldberg | Harry Yaros | Franka, Zion & Henna
78: Our name was originally Lipszyc. When we immigrated to the United States and were eligible for citizenship in 1958 we had a chance to change our name. I was Mojzes in Poland, Moses in Sweden, and became Morris in America. For our last name, I took the “Lip” from Lipszyc, and the “son” from Sweden, in the same way they had names like Johnson and Peterson. I hated the Poles and felt that Sweden gave me back my life and restored my health. I felt I owed them, at least, half my name. | Many parts of my life were horrible, horrible times. You can’t just live in anger and pain. I remember, but one has to move on. I am proud of my accomplishments—mainly my family—and what I’ve built for them. I have to be thankful that I, Mojzes Mesulem, from Lodz, Poland, who went through such hell, am sitting with my family, and enjoying them. It’s a real miracle.