From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Far West
Some of the events that I am describing here come from memory, but others are facts that were told to me by my mother when she was alive (she died in 1980) or by my older sister.
I was born in Warsaw on December 9, 1939, three months after the German invasion of Poland. In November of 1940, the Germans established the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, and the apartment building where we lived became part of the Ghetto. The address was Chłodna 20.
Since I was so young, I have no memories of the Ghetto. But in July of 1942, when the deportations to the Treblinka death camp started, my parents realized that tin order to survive we had to escape the ghetto and go into hiding. We were able to do this because my father managed a jewelry factory on the Aryan side, and he was able to take some workers with him with his work pass each day.
The factory, Icek Alland and Sons, had been started by my grandfather Icek Alland. He died in 1935 and now my father, StanislawAlland, was in charge of the factory. After the German invasion, the factory was taken over and given to a Polish woman to run. She was a Volksdeutsch, a Polish person of German ancestry. She did not know anything about the jewelry business, so she decided to keep my father on as the operations manager, and she was very nice to him. This is how he had obtained the pass.
Besides my father and mother, I also had an older sister. She was 11 years old in 1942, and because she looked older, my father passed her off as 13, the youngest age that was allowed by the Germans for workers on day passes. So she was able to go back and forth each day between the ghetto and the factory. One day my father decided to keep her there in hiding. Then he came back to the ghetto and took my mother out on a work pass. She went to the ghetto exit gate carrying me, two years old at that time, in her arms. We were incredibly fortunate, because the German guard did not stop her and let her...