Mordechai Weinryb photograph collection
Document | Accession Number: 2003.30.1
The photographs depict Mordechai (Motek) Weinryb [donor] and his friends during their years of organizing illegal emigration to Palestine and later during his internment in Cyprus. The images consist of studio portraits of the donor and friends as well as one informal group photograph.
- Document Creator
- Mordechai M. Weinryb
Mordechai Molek Weinryb was born in Zarki, Poland, on June 26, 1922, to Lajbus Weinryb and Balcia Bella Weissman Weinryb. Lajbus Weinryb served as a rabbi in Zarki and managed a restaurant in town with his wife. Molek had two brothers and three sisters: Natan (b.1914), ltzhak (1928-1939), Fela (b. 1916), Rivka (b. 1917), and ldka Jadzia (b.1925). Molek, along with his siblings, attended a yeshiva, but at the age of 14, he stopped being religious and became a member of a Zionist Socialist youth organization, Hashomer Hatzair. Natan, the oldest brother, was active in the Mizrachi organization in Czelad·z. Poland, where he lived.
Following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Molek and a friend from Hashomer Hatzair understood what the invaders' objectives were. Beginning in 1940, Molek started to organize a resistance movement. Mordechai Anielewicz visited Zarki in 1941 on his way to Bedzin and Sosnowiec, Poland. He encouraged Molek and his friends to travel from ghetto to ghetto and warn Jews of the German intentions. In September 1941, a group of approximately 20 Jews from the ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, came to Zarki and worked on a farm. Among them were Lodzia Hamersztejn, her future husband, Abram Zylbersztajn, and others. Molek Weinryb and his group became very involved with the Warsaw group and helped them with food supplies. In the spring of 1942, Arie Jurek Wilner, one of the leaders of the Warsaw-based Jewish resistance movement, visited Zarki. The farm, however, could not sustain its inhabitants and was disbanded.
On Yom Kippur 1942 the Germans started to liquidate the ghetto in Zarki. Molek hid for four days in a storage room until he was able to leave. He went to nearby Pilica (Pilice), Poland, where his parents were hiding. After a short period the Jews from Pilice were transferred to the ghetto in Radomsko, Poland. In January 1943, during the liquidation of that ghetto, Molek asked his family not to board the deportation trains. His mother and three sisters hid in a bunker, and Molek, his father, and 20 other Jews found a hiding place behind a wardrobe. After a few days Molek and his friend, Berl Lemel, walked to Czestochowa, Poland, to organize help. Upon their return to Radomsko, all of the hiding Jews, including Motek's father and sister, ldka, were murdered.
Molek was deported to the Czestochowa concentration camp and later transferred to the Pionki ammunition factory and concentration camp. As the Soviet Army was approaching, Molek was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp along with Arie Gutkind. Just before liberation, he was taken on a death march to Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. On May 8, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the camp. Molek was hospitalized for more than a month. After his recovery he traveled to Sosnowiec, Poland, to be reunited with his sister, Fela, who had survived Auschwitz. Motek's mother was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944, and his sister, Rivka, perished in Pionki.
With the help of Berihah (Bricha), Molek and Fela Weinryb reached Italy. They started to organize Jewish refugees for illegal emigration to Palestine. At first Molek spent six months in Bari, Italy, and then he was transferred to Rome, Italy, where he organized a kibbutz. After a few months he was sent to Genoa, Italy, to establish another kibbutz. In Genoa Molek met and married Sara Erlich from Bedzin, Poland, who had survived Parschnitz concentration camp. In 1947 Molek and his bride boarded the ship, Moledel, which was intercepted by the British after arriving in Haifa, Palestine, and was redirected to Cyprus. Molek and Sara spent two years in the internment camp in Cyprus. In 1949 they finally arrived in Israel. At first they stayed with Fela, Motek's sister, who lived in Kiryat Bialik, and Molek found a job at a flour mill which belonged to his cousin. In 1954 Bella Weinryb, Molek and Sara's daughter, was born. In 1961 the Weinryb family moved to Berlin, Germany.
- Topical Term
Palestine--Emigration and immigration--History--20th century.
- Personal Name
- Holder of Originals
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The photographs were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Mordechai Weinryb.
- 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.
Record last modified: 2023-02-24 14:05:26
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