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Elisabeth Bates papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2002.199.1

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    The collection documents the Holocaust-era experiences of Elisabeth Bates (born Isabela Wolfowicz), originally of Gąbin, Poland. Documents include a false identification document used by Elisabeth to live under the name of Elzbieta Rybiecka in Warsaw, Poland, dated 21 April 1939; and an identification card belonging to Elisabeth’s grandfather, Icek Majer, circa 1939. Photographs consist of a photograph of Elisabeth with her mother, Mania (née Glas) Wolfowicz, circa 1925; and one of her father, Marek Wolfowicz, undated.
    inclusive:  circa 1925-1943
    Collection Creator
    Elisabeth Bates
    Elisabeth Bates was born Isabela Wolfowicz (1922-2011) in Gąbin, Poland to Marek and Mania (née Glas) Wolfowicz. She had one sister, Ada (b. 1926). Marek was one of the Jewish leaders of the town.

    After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Marek feared his leadership position put him and his family in danger. They fled to Warsaw, but soon returned to Gąbin. Marek then returned to Warsaw, and Elisabeth soon joined him there. Elisabeth worked in a chicory factory and then as a nurse in the ghetto hospital treating typhus patients. Both Elisabeth and her father contracted typhus, and while they were recovering, her mother and sister fled the liquidation of Gąbin and joined them in Warsaw.

    Around July 1942, the family secured jobs in Walther Többen’s textile factory through a relative. Elisabeth’s parents were deported in September 1942 to Treblinka where they perished. Elisabeth and Ada continued working at the factory until it was announced that the entire workforce were being deported to other areas within the Reich. With the help of a non-Jewish family friend, Wojciech Maciejko, the sisters escaped the ghetto. Wojciech arranged for them to receive false-identity documents. Ada hid with Wojciech’s mother, and Elisabeth moved around to different hiding places. She lived under the false-identity of Elzbieta Rybiecka as a Catholic woman, and worked as a nanny. She survived two attempts by blackmailers to have her arrested by the Gestapo.

    Elisabeth remained hidden during the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. She was arrested after the uprising and put on a train. She jumped off the train near Płaszów and walked to Błędów where another family she had been hiding with now resided.

    After liberation by the Red Army in January 1945 Elisabeth and her sister were reunited. Ada moved to France in 1946 and Israel in 1950. Elisabeth stayed in Poland where she married and had two sons. Due to increasing antisemitism from the Polish government, Elisabeth and her daughter immigrated to Haifa, Israel in 1968.

    Physical Details

    German Polish
    1 folder

    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 collection was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Elisabeth Bates in 2002.
    Record last modified:
    2023-12-15 14:31:50
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