Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Bernard and Sylvia Kupferman papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2007.475.1

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward


    Documents, correspondence, and envelopes documenting Bernard Kupferman's release and journey home from Odessa, USSR.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Bernard and Sylvia Kupferman
    Collection Creator
    Bernard Kupferman
    Bernard Kupferman (1921-2008) was born in the Bronx section of New York City. He joined the Army in 1940 and was stationed with the 16th Infantry Regiment on Governor’s Island, New York. A few months later he was shipped to Germany as a sergeant in the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. He landed in France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was wounded June 16 but recovered and rejoined his unit. On September 5, 1944, the Germans bombed Bernard’s outfit as they crossed the Meuse River in Belgium. Bernard was wounded, captured, and forced on a three day march to a temporary labor camp. As a non-commissioned officer he did not have to work, but the Germans subjected him to hours of interrogation. He revealed nothing except his name, rank, and serial number. Next, the Germans forced their prisoners on another three day march, stopping once to provide them with a small box of food and water. They were crowded into boxcars for a three day train ride to camp 12A in Lindenberg, Germany, where they stayed for a week before the Germans transferred them to their final destination, Stalag IIIC in Kustrin, Germany. Food at the camp consisted of a fifth of a loaf of black bread and bean or rutabaga soup filled with bugs. Not able to eat the food provided, Bernard made soup from the grass growing along the camp fence. The American Red Cross sent care packages every three weeks and these packages, containing spam, coffee, biscuits, and cigarettes, kept Bernard alive. He did not smoke and traded the cigarettes for bread.
    A Russian armored division liberated the camp on January 31, 1945. The Russians told the American that they could not help them as they were driving west into Germany. They left the Americans on the side of the road without food, water, or weapons and with the advice to walk in the opposite direction. Bernard and ten others walked to a farmhouse, where they ate well, got clean, and left two days later for the Polish border. On February 27, 1945, he met a group of Jewish Holocaust survivors in Łódź, Poland, who gave him a siddur (prayer book) with their names inside because they wanted to be remembered. From Poland, the Americans traveled to the Ukraine where a high ranking U.S. Army officer in Moscow heard about their arrival and had them relocated to a resort area. They stayed there until heading to Odessa, U.S.S.R. in March 1945, where they were put on a ship to Naples, Italy, then back to the U.S. in April.
    Bernard was discharged shortly after returning home. He was awarded three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, an American Defense Medal, and a European/African/Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. He learned the printing trade and worked as a pressman in New York City where he married Sylvia in 1947. In 1966 they moved to Maryland and Bernard worked at the Government Printing Office until his retirement. Sylvia and Bernard had two daughters.

    Physical Details

    1 folder

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The Museum is in the process of determining the possible use restrictions that may apply to material(s) in this collection.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Odesa (Ukraine)

    Administrative Notes

    Bernard Kupferman donated the Bernard and Sylvia Kupferman papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:36:06
    This page:

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us