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Berkowicz family papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2006.513.1

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    Berkowicz family papers

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    The collection contains correspondence documenting the Berkowicz family’s experiences during the Holocaust. Included is correspondence to Bina Tac Berkowicz after her immigration to the United States from her sister Faiga Tac Bursztyn in the Warsaw ghetto; letters from family members in Slonim, Belarus; correspondence from Bernard Berkowicz’s brothers who were refugees in New Zealand; and letters enquiring about the whereabouts of various family members. Also included is the passenger list of the M.S. Piłsudski, the ship Bina, Bernard, and their daughter Barbara sailed on from Poland to the United States.
    inclusive:  1939-1948
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Barbara Berkowicz Soloway
    Collection Creator
    Berkowicz family
    Barbara Berkowicz (1930-2015; nicknamed Basia; later Barbara Berkowicz Soloway) was born in Sierpc, Poland on 2 December 1930. She and her sister Rivka were the only children of Chaim Ber Bernard Berkowicz (b.1890, referred to as Bernard) and Bina Tac Berkowicz (b. 1899, often referred to as Bronka). Bernard had one sister, Helena, and at least four brothers: David, Szlomo, Jozef, and Leon. The brothers all co-owned a fish canning factory in Warsaw, Poland. Bina was the daughter of Szmuel and Sara (née Graubart) Tac. She had three siblings: Faiga Tac Bursztyn; Mania Tac Hochenberg, who was married to Moniek Hochenberg and they had one son, Szymonek; and Marek Tac. Her parents owned a sewing supplies store, and they and her siblings all lived in Sierpc. Bina graduated from dental school in Warsaw, where she met Bernard, and they married in 1929.

    In the spring of 1939 Bernard Berkowicz, who anticipated that Germany would invade Poland, obtained a merchant’s visa to the United States to attend the World Fair in New York. He was able to get tourist visas for his wife and daughter as well. On 7 June 1939, Basia and her parents sailed from the port of Gdynia on the M.S. Piłsudski for New York. Bernard’s four brothers and their families were all able to leave Poland and Russia with Japanese transit visas obtained through the Japanese consul, Chiune Sugihara, in Kaunas, Lithuania as part of his effort to aid Jewish refugees. They found refuge in New Zealand and later came to the United States. Bina’s brother Marek fled Poland to Slonim, Belarus, which was under Soviet administration at that time, but he and his family were killed by the Germans after June 1941. Bina’s father and two sisters, Fajga and Mania, perished in the Warsaw ghetto. They corresponded with Bina until December 1941, when the contact stopped.

    Barbara Berkowicz married Albert Soloway on 29 November 1953, and they settled in Columbus, Ohio. They have three children: Madeleine (b. 1954), Paul (b. 1958) and Renee (b. 1963).

    Physical Details

    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as one series. All of the correspondence are letters received unless otherwise noted.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Barbara Berkowicz Soloway.
    Record last modified:
    2023-03-24 13:35:31
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