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Bar of soap from Stutthof labor-concentration camp given to a Polish Holocaust survivor

Object | Accession Number: 1997.30.1

Bar of soap issued to Czeslaw Foterek while imprisoned in Stutthof labor-concentration camp, later given to Helen Sperling (Hinda Kacenelenbogen) by a friend. The soap was used in the concentration camp and the inmates believed that it was made from human fat, although this was not true. Czeslaw Foterek was a Roman Catholic living in Gdynia, Poland. After the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, he was arrested by the Gestapo on September 19, and taken to Stutthof on November 9. There he worked as a slave laborer for the German Equipment Works until his release on March 28, 1945. Hinda Kacenelenbogen was on break from university with her family in Otwock, Poland, when Germany invaded. In October 1940, her family was evicted from their home and forced into the Otwock ghetto. In August 1942 the Germans began deporting and killing Jews from the ghetto and Hinda’s family escaped into hiding. Her parents, aunt and uncle were found and murdered by the Germans in September. Hinda and her brother Saul obtained new identities and lived in hiding. In 1944 Hinda and Saul were captured during the Warsaw Uprising. She was sent to Ravensbrück and then transferred to Buchenwald where she worked as a slave laborer. Buchenwald was liberated by the Soviets on April 17, 1945. Hinda spent three years recovering from cancer and malnutrition and was eventually reunited with Saul. They immigrated to the United States in 1949.

issue:  1939 November 09-1945 March 28
received:  1995 June-1995 September
issue: Stutthof (Concentration camp); Sztutowo (Poland)
Object Type
Soap (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Helen Sperling
Record last modified: 2022-09-26 10:56:18
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