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Danek Gertner collection

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.0022

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    Danek Gertner collection

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    The Danek Gertner collection contains primarily two memoirs and a collection of records copied from the Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in Lviv. The copied records contain police records, Zionist organization questionnaires, and information concerning specific people from Żabie, Ukraine; the hometown of Danek Gertner. The first memoir in the collection is entitled Hitlerism in the History of the Jews, and was written by Col. Yuri Schulmeister, a friend of Danek’s. The memoir is written in Ukrainian. The second memoir is entitled The Holocaust: Michael Silberg’s Experiences, written by Michael Silberg. Other items in the collection include two Ukrainian newspapers, photographs of Żabie, Ukraine and memorials, and postcards of synagogues.
    inclusive:  1933-1993
    Collection Creator
    Danek Gertner
    David “Danek” Gertner was born in 1919 into an affluent and well-educated family. His parents, Eliezer and Zelda Gertner, were known throughout the town of Żabie, Poland (now Verkhovyna, Ukraine) as the proprietor of a hotel and several pastures which were rented out to neighbors. Danek was the second of four brothers, named Arie, Mirek, and Schimon, and he attended school at the Institute of Technology in L’wow, Poland. In November 1940, following Soviet occupation of the area, Danek was inducted into the Red Army. After arriving to the barracks for training, he contracted malaria. He was given two months of leave to recover with his family back in Żabie. When he was sent back to the Army, he discovered the unit was in chaos, and decided to return back to his family. In late 1941, during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans reached the area of Żabie, and killing operations began. Some of Danek’s family, including his brother Arie, were among the casualties. The family moved into a small house on the outside of town, as the killings continued. After three days, the Gertners set out to find their former maid, who hid them until they contacted Danek’s uncle Jehoschua, who took the family to Kosow (Kosiv, Ukraine). In the summer of 1942, Danek’s father passed away, distraught over the death of his son Arie, leaving behind Danek’s mother and his two siblings. Soon after, the Germans enlisted Jews for forced labor. It became clear to Danek and his brothers that the group they were put in was to be executed, and began plotting their escape. Mirek was able to run off from the group and escape, despite being shot at. The next day, the group marched toward Kolomyia. Danek ran from the ranks and avoided being shot at as well, and hid amongst dead bodies laid out in a cemetery. Both Mirek and Danek made their way back to Kosow, and with their mother traveled to the Kolomyia ghetto. Schimon was taken to Kolomyia as well, but was immediately sent to a concentration camp and was killed. After another roundup of Jews for selection in the ghetto, he was placed on a train, but managed to escape and make his way back to Kolomyia. Unable to find his mother, Mirek and Danek fled to Hungary. There he met his future wife, Jadwiga Grüner. The two stayed in Hungary until August, 1944, when they arranged to be smuggled into Romania. Jadwiga and Danek married in September. They then traveled to Budapest as the Soviet army was quickly approaching, and were soon liberated. After the war, Danek and his brother Mirek became successful businessmen.

    Physical Details

    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The Danek Gertner collection is arranged as a single series.

    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

    The Danek Gertner collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1994 by Danek Gertner.
    Record last modified:
    2023-05-22 15:32:31
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