Oral history interview with Irit Romano
Irit Romano Cooper (née Irit Romano), born in Poland in January 1929, describes growing up in a religious Jewish house; her sisters Tova, Etta and Chaya; her grandmother’s strong faith; her relationship with Judaism and disagreeing at the age of 10 with her grandmother's view of religion; the beginning of the war and watching as German soldiers gathered Jewish men and cut the rabbi's beard in the town’s market; losing her faith in god after seeing that incident; being sent by her mother to work for a farmer and moving from one farmer to another; looking for a place to go in the winter and meeting lady named Yedlida who told her to go to the convent over the hill; arriving at the convent and working in the kitchen; her false ID with the name Bulsveta Kovalchik, daughter of Zsofia Kovalchik and an unknown father; life in the convent; her five roommates and passing as a non-Jew; staying in the convent for a year and half; attending Sunday prayers at church and lying during the confession; becoming closer and closer to Christianity; her memories of her father in the ghetto; the anti-Jewish sermon given every week during mass and beginning to believe the minister’s rhetoric; being unaware of events during the war because of the lack of newspapers and radio in the convent; seeing Russian soldiers chase German soldiers near the convent; being confronted by the mother superior about her Jewish identity; her desire to go to Israel and being pressured by her to convert to Christianity; writing to the mother superior when she eventually got to Israel and meeting her again in 1985; her return to Judaism and how the mother superior's pressure to convert pushed her toward Judaism; and her conversation with the mother superior about why she didn’t convert.
Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
- Irit Cooper
- Simon Levine
1994 December 01
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Patricia Benezra
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:52:16
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn513437
Also in Patricia Benezra oral history collection
Oral history interviews conducted by Patricia Benezra of Claudius Communications.
Meir Tyrangiel, born circa 1930 in Koluszki, Poland, describes his eight siblings (Mordechai, Moshe, Israel, Mendel, David, Zvi, Pesia, and Chaya); his parents (Shaul Dov and Adela Tyrangiel); growing up in a family that was happy and financially stable; his older brother’s shoe store; his parents’ wood sawing business; being nine years old when the war began; escaping with his family to Brzeziny, Poland, where they stayed with the parents of his older brother’s wife for a week; returning home; being taken in 1940 to a work camp called Chechnov, where he dug trenches; witnessing the murder of fellow workers; wanting to start a revolution against the Germans and being silenced by the other prisoners; escaping with another young man, Itzhak Erlich, to a neutral zone; being captured and send to a prison called “Herbroskapa”; being transferred two weeks later to a prison called “Brygidki” in Lvov, Poland (L’viv, Ukraine), where they were accused of being spies; being moved to a camp, where he stayed for six months amongst political prisoners; being sent to Kamchatka, Russia; working various jobs around Russia; joining an army called “Vandevaslevsky” at the end of 1944; going to Lublin, Poland; learning that his whole family was killed and except for his four-year-old niece Genia (Genowefa “Genia” Ben Ezra or Genevieve Benezra) in Minsk, Belarus; going with the army to Łódź, Poland, where he served until the war was over; failing to win a court battle in Łódź to gain custody of Genia from a Christian (Yashchuk or Jaszczuk) who hid her during the war; moving to France; going to Israel with his wife (Chava Tyrangiel); sending Genia a ticket to visit them in Israel while she was studying in Strassburg, France; the fates of his family members; and writing the names of his family members who perished during the Holocaust on his wife’s grave.
Myriam Carmi (née Furmanski), born in 1923 in Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland, describes the Jewish community in Minsk Mazowiecki; attending public schools; participating in Jewish youth organizations; antisemitism and the pogrom in 1936, when a few Jews were killed and others fled to Warsaw, Poland; growing up in a middle class family on Siennicka Street with her parents and five siblings; the arrival of the Germans; the destruction of her family’s house and living with the Friedman family; returning to their house after six months; the formation of the Judenrat (Jewish council) in 1940; the Jewish police; one of her brothers being sent to a work camp near Russia; the creation of the ghetto on Siennicka Street and Nagechna Street; conditions and diseases in the ghetto; sneaking out of the ghetto to sell kosher chickens in Warsaw to support her family; a transport of Jews from Kalisz, Poland moving into the ghetto and hosting the Kava family; the roundup of Jews in September 1942 and hiding with her mother and siblings under the house; going with her father to the Kupernik (a building on Siennicka Street) and being taken daily by the Germans to work sites; her mother staying at the Kupernik with Myriam’s brother (age six) and her two sisters (ages nine and 12); the murder of her brother outside the Kupernik; the deportation of her mother; the deportation of her older brother to a work camp; being sent to work in Warsaw nine days before the Germans massacred 218 Jews from the Kupernik, including her father; staying on Bednarska Street in Warsaw in the home of a Polish friend; struggling to find another hiding place with her sister-in-law Regina Grinshpan; living with a woman and her daughter, Tushka; learning that the Kupernik was burned down by the Germans; working as a maid for Christians in Warsaw; walking with Regina back to Minsk Mazowiecki after the Russians liberated it; and meeting her husband in Minsk Mazowiecki.