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Inscribed wooden box with painted lid bought by a Roman Catholic Polish former forced laborer

Object | Accession Number: 2014.469.3 a-b

Wooden box with a painted lid, purchased by 14-year-old Zbigniew Piotrowski in November 1944 while waiting for his train to escape forced labor in Breslau, Germany. Zbigniew was a Roman Catholic boy living with his parents, three brothers, and sister, in the port city of Gdynia, Poland, when the German army invaded on September 1, 1939. Shortly after, one of his brothers was abducted off the street for forced labor by the German authorities, and the rest of the family was forcibly transported to the city of Lublin. Zbigniew’s brother was released, and the family relocated to Warsaw, where all but one of the brothers became involved in underground resistance activity. Zbigniew’s mother died in 1941, and his sister was arrested for underground activity in 1942. On August 1, 1944, the city’s underground resistance rose up against the German occupation forces. During the Warsaw Uprising, Zbigniew, his father, a brother, and their housekeeper were forced out of their home. Zbigniew watched as his father was executed, and afterwards he was deported with the housekeeper to a forced labor camp near Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland). In October, Zbigniew escaped to the town of Trzebinia and hid with a Red Cross volunteer he had met in Breslau. In early May 1945, the town was liberated by the Soviet Army, and Zbigniew returned home. He reunited with his brothers and sister, and moved back to Gdynia. Zbigniew joined the crew of the MS Batory, a ship that traveled between Gdynia and New York City. In October 1948, Zbigniew debarked the ship and entered the United States, settling in New York City.

acquired:  1944 November
acquired: Breslau (Germany : Landkreis)
Object Type
Wooden boxes (lcsh)
1 folder
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Zbigniew A. Piotrowski
Record last modified: 2023-08-25 13:00:30
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