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Józef V. Czarski collection

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 1994.A.0171 | RG Number: RG-02.149

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    The collection consists of a curriculum vitae and short story of Victor Penzer, originally of Kraków, Poland, written under the name of Józef Czarski, his false identity used when he was in the Resistance in Poland during the Holocaust. The curriculum vitae is a brief narrative describing Victor’s prewar, wartime, and postwar experiences, including his deportation to Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau), the death march to Mauthausen, and his liberation at Gunskirchen in May 1945. The short story "Schillinger and the Rabbit" describes a guard at Auschwitz II assaulting Jewish prisoners after they captured a hare. A version of this story appears in Victor’s memoir “Dlaczego? Warum? Why?”, which was also published under the name Józef Czarski.
    creation:  circa 1993
    Collection Creator
    Victor Penzer
    Victor Penzer (1919-1999, false identity Józef Czarski) was born on July 18, 1919 in Kraków, Poland to Jozef Penzer and Rosalia Penzer (née Feldblum). He had one brother, Isidor Penzer (b. 1912, later Edward Panzer (SIC). His father was a textile merchant. By 1931, numerus clausus had been enacted in the Polish university system to exclude Jews, prompting Victor’s brother Edward to study medicine in Italy. Victor enrolled in the medical program at Jagiellonian University in Kraków in 1937.

    After the invasion of Poland in September 1939 by Germany and the Soviet Union, Kraków was occupied by the Germans. Victor fled to Lwów, Poland (Lviv, Ukraine) and then back to Kraków. He obtained false-identity documents and lived under the name Józef Czarski. Victor also joined the Resistance. He was arrested in Kraków in February 1943 and deported to Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau). In January 1945 the Auschwitz camp system was evacuated due to the approaching Soviet Red Army. Victor and the other prisoners were forced on a death march to Mauthausen, where he was in the Melk and Gunskirchen subcamps. He was liberated from Gunskirchen by the United States Army in May 1945.

    After liberation, Victor was in Gnadenwald DP camp where he met fellow survivor Stella Sławin (1921-2018), whom he would later marry. He resumed his medical education first at the University of Innsbruck and then at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, near to where his brother Edward was working as a doctor at Föhrenwald DP camp. Victor and Stella immigrated to the United States in 1949, first living in New York and then settling in Boston, Massachusetts in 1950. He and Stella had three children: Martha, Danny, and Rosie.

    Physical Details

    1 folder
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single folder

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of the material(s) in this collection. 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

    Geographic Name
    Kraków (Poland)
    Personal Name
    Czarski, Józef, 1919-

    Administrative Notes

    The collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Victor Penzer under the name Józef Czarski in September 1993. Józef Czarski was the false identity name used by Victor during the Holocaust.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-16 11:34:58
    This page:

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