Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.

Interviewee: Sophie Mendelsohn

Interview Subject: Leon Mendelsohn (1915-1990) – father, Marysia (Goldbaum) Mendelson (b. 1918 ) – mother.

Leon Mendelsohn

Leon Mendelsohn was born in Rzeczyca in 1915. His parents were David Mendelsohn (born in 1889) and Rivka Hering (born 1889). Leon's maternal grandparents were Mordechai Hersz Hering (born 1857, died 1928, in Hrubieszów) and Pesla Brumer (born 1862, died 1938, in Zamość). Mordechai was a butcher in Zamość. Mordechai and Pesla had 7 children: Aaron, born in 1900, married and came to Israel, Rivka, Leon's mother, was the third child. Gita, married to Yaakov Berger. Both were killed by the Germans. Their children live in Israel. Etale, was also killed by the Germans, Hersz was murdered with his father's butcher knife.

Rivka married David in 1907. They had 3 children. The eldest Izek married Nesia Waks. They came back to Poland after the war. Haviva and her family live in Israel. The second child, Hinda Malka, her husband Yaakov Rosenperl and their children were murdered by the Germans. The third child was Leon.

The house was unorthodox. They went to the synagogue only on holidays. Leon went to a Jewish elementary school – Kadima. Then he went to a Polish gymnasium and to the university (he majored in history).

In 1939 the Russians entered Zamość. When they retreated they allowed the Jews to escape. The family escaped to Russia with David's brother's family. In 1945 they came back to Poland. In 1950 they came to Israel on the ship "Galila". David died in Tel Aviv in 1953. Rivka died in 1964.

Marysia Goldbaum

Marysia Goldbaum was born in Lublin in 1918. Her parents were Srul (Israel) Goldbaum (born in Krasnobrod in 1893) and Chaja Zysla Frydman (born in Lublin in 1897). Marysia's paternal grandparents were Moshe Goldbaum (born in Hrubieszów in 1850) and Szajndla Jenta Majzels (born in Krasnobrod in 1861).

Moshe and Szajndla Jenta had 7 children – all born in Krasnobrod [Krasnobród]: Ojzer (born 1884), Machle (born 1886, married  Ze'ev Springer from Lublin, their 3 children live in Israel), Chana Ita (born 1888), Hinda Sima (born 1891), Srul (Marysia's father), Chaim Icek (born 1895), Chaja (born 1898 in Hrubieszów, married Israel Hecht from Dolowicze, killed with their 3 children in the Holocaust). Moshe and Szajndla Jenta lived in Hrubieszów.

Srul married Chaja Zysla in 1918 in Lublin. They had 2 daughters: Marysia and Sara Rivka (born 1916 in Lublin). Srul was a synagogue Maher (in Yiddish – influential person). It was a religious home and they observed all the Jewish traditions – kept kosher, Sabbath, they went to synagogue every day, etc. Srul taught his daughters all the Jewish prayers because he didn't have any boys.

Marysia went to a Jewish school until she was 15. When the war broke out, she was 20 years old. Moniek Skardnik, an acquaintance from Kock (near Lublin), came to court her. When the Germans closed the ghetto, he was enclosed with Marysia and her family. It didn't look good for a  young man and a young woman to live together, so Marysia and Moniek got engaged.

In the spring of 1942, the Germans did the first Action. The loudspeakers called all the Jews in the ghetto to take as few belongings as possible and to come to the train station. The Jews were told that they were being sent to work. Srul understood what was going on. When all the people crowded together, he made sure he was always at the end of the line. When the trains were filled, the Germans allowed the remaining Jews to return to their homes.

In the second Action Marysia was sick and had a fever. Srul was afraid that when the Germans saw that Marysia couldn't work, she would be killed. He arranged for Marysia to get the permit of a Jewish policeman's fiancé. All of Marysia's family was killed in Bełżec.

Marysia was left all alone. Her fiancé, Moniek Skardnik, was a man of means. He paid some people to get her out of the ghetto. They were supposed to meet, but he was murdered on the way by bandits who stole his money. He had managed to pay  someone to take Marysia to Warsaw before he was killed.

She now lived under false identity with the help of a Polish woman. Marysia was supposedly a Christian member of her family.

One day Marysia entered the church and confessed in the confessional that she was a Jew and that she was lying about her identity. The priest took pity on her and taught her how to pray correctly.  Marysia worked as a nanny for the Borkowski family. The family owned the Borkowski Brothers factory [Bracia Borkowscy] and was a well known and respected family in Warsaw. She stayed there until the end of the war.

Leon and Marysia Mendelsohn

Leon was a soldier in the Red Army in the Polish division. When Lublin was freed, he served in the releasing military unit in 1944. When Marysia's employers, the Borkowski family, found out that she was Jewish they urged her to go to Lublin to search for her family. 

Leon and Marysia met through a mutual acquaintance. They spent 3 days together and then Marysia went back to Warsaw. When the war ended Leon (now an officer) sent his driver to pick Marysia up and bring her to him. Marysia refused and sent the driver back empty handed.

They got married in 1945. Leon worked in the Gdańsk area in the Red Army's provision department. Marysia had a store in the port – a Komis. She sold merchandise from abroad.

In 1946 George (Israel) was born. In 1951 Sophie (Ziva) was born. George attended an elementary school in Safet [Sopot?]. In 1957, when the gates were opened, the family came to Israel [..], later moved to Australia […].

 

 

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