Helen Gens

By in Holocaust

An Introduction to the Lodz Ghetto             Lodz, Poland was the second largest city in Poland at the start of World War II. It was home to the second highest population of Jews in Poland prior to the start of the war. Despite these statistics, Lodz was a city that had a long history of anti-Semitism. Lodz was originally under Prussian control, and these occupants felt the need to limit the amount of Jews who could live there. It was not until the Russians occupation of the city in the mid-1800s that these restrictions would be lifted. World War I and the destruction of the city, anti-Semitism returned as the Polish government refused to compensate Jewish factory and storeowners so they could rebuild what they had lost. At this point in time, Jews had made up a large portion of the city’s population and the city had thrived on the economic success of the Jewish population who lived...

Benjamin Wayne: Facing Terror

By in Holocaust, Human Rights, Leadership, Staten Island History, Staten Island History

Arthur Spielman

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The Story of Arthur Spielman “To save your life you would do anything […] we never were thinking of changing to be anything else but Jewish. […] Me being here today is a miracle […]  sheer luck” -Arthur Spielman Nazi Headquarters or Polish Royalty ?             In Krakow, Poland, September, 1939, the Nazi flag was raised at the Wawel castle marking a German victory, the invasion of Poland, and the beginning  of World War II. The Germans declared Krakow as the designated capital of the General government. Hans Frank was appointed Governor General and established his headquarters in the Wawel Castle, former home to Poland’s royalty. At first, the ambitions of the Nazi officials was to remove Jews from the rest of the Polish society. After December, 1939, Jews living in ghettos were required to wear identifying badges or armbands and a decree was issued...

Luba Dora Malz

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    “I was in a concentration camp and I didn’t know what was going on…We did not believe it because it is not human nature to kill people. How could we figure out they were going to kill hundreds or thousands or millions of people?”  -Luba Malz When the Germans invaded Poland, Luba Dora Malz (née Rogozinsky) was 13 years old.  She was born in Lodz, Poland in 1926.  The first indication to Luba’s family that something was wrong is when Jews in Poland were no longer allowed to go to school.  Jewish owned factories began to be closed down.  That is when the war started for her family.  One night, a neighbor identified her as Jewish when she went into a nearby store to pay for bread.  Luba was kicked out of the store without the bread. She was then beaten. That same neighbor was a close family friend and their children had played with Luba and her siblings. ...

Gabi Held

By in Holocaust, Staten Island History, Uncategorized

Romi Cohn

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   Romi Cohn Born on March 10, 1929, Romi Cohn grew up in Czechoslovakia when it was invaded by the Germans when he was ten years old. Cohn and his family continued to live there due to an “economic exception,” until they decided it was too dangerous and he was sent to Hungary. A couple years later, he returned to Czechoslovakia and began helping Jewish refugees receive Christian papers or find places to live. After being arrested for possession of false Christian documents, Romi Cohn made an escape and joined the partisans. He later retold his story in his novel The Youngest Partisan. Today, Romi Cohn is a rabbi in New York City and real estate developer.      “He show me a paper, he looks at the paper, he says, alright, very good. What is your name? I said Romi Cohn. He said, your name is Jan Kovatch. I say, Mr. Captain, I’m sorry, my name is Romi Cohn....