Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jerusalem

We flew from Cairo to Tel Aviv, then took a cab to the hotel in Jerusalem. In the morning we met with a group of friends and walked around the Old City of Jerusalem. Preparations for Shabbos were everywhere, large piles of challah loaves, stores starting to close before the early winter sunset. I walked down the men's side of the Western Wall plaza by mistake, and was quickly intercepted. Spent some time sitting by the wall with the other women, and wrote a note.


The note was in the name of my paternal grandparents, aunts, their husbands and children, all murdered in Warsaw. Despite much research, I had learned next to nothing about them, including how they died. The exception was my Aunt Sabina, whose name I found the first night I searched the Yad Vashem database.

Her last months were unimaginable so I try to imagine them. Having survived through 1942, enduring what she must have, she ended up in the Zambrow transit camp, one of the worst in terms of crowding, malnutrition, disease and cold. Between January 14th and 18th, 1943, the camp was liquidated, and she was transported to Auschwitz. At Auschwitz she lived long enough to have been registered by those neat functionaries, carefully spelling her maiden name, Cytryn, and her mother's maiden name, Guzik. Five weeks later, on February 25, 1943, her death was recorded in the Auschwitz Death Registers:

Source
Auschwitz Death Registers, The State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
Last Name
STEIN
First Name
SABINA
First Name
SARA
Maiden Name
CYTRYN
Father's First Name
MOJZESZ
Mother's First Name
MASZA
Mother's Maiden Name
GUZIK
Sex
Female
Date of Birth
20/08/1914
Place of Birth
WARSCHAU
Marital Status
MARRIED
Spouse's First Name
MAX
Spouse's First Name
ISRAEL
Place during the war
ZAMBROW,LOMZA,BIALYSTOK,POLAND
Place of Death
AUSCHWITZ,Camp
Date of Death
25/02/1943
Type of material
List of victims from Auschwitz
Language
German
Source Page number
10941/1943
Victims' status end WWII
Perished

I had known about some of the deaths of my father's relatives. I always said they "died in the war." Holocaust was a special term reserved for Jews. Not my family. Strange to think now, Sabina was not just in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was the target.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Roma.

January 6, 2009 at 10:57 AM  

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