Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research

Login

Register

Help

Skip to main content

Enameled Dutch oven used by a Jewish family in a displaced persons camp

Object | Accession Number: 2003.193.3 a-b

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Enameled Dutch oven used by a Jewish family in a displaced persons camp

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Red and brown enameled metal Dutch oven used by Chana and Josef Matlowsky (later Helen and Joseph Matlow) while living at Eggenfelden displaced persons camp in Germany, from 1947 to 1949. In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and gave the Soviet Union the eastern half, where Chana’s family lived in Zdzieciol (Dziatlava, Belarus). In summer 1941, Germany invaded eastern Poland. In December, Chana’s brother was sent to work in a forced labor camp in Dworzec (Dvarėts (Hrodzenskaia voblasts', Belarus).) In 1942, German authorities ordered all Jews to move into a ghetto in Zdzieciol, killed Chana’s father, and sent her and her mother to Dworzec as forced laborers. In December, Chana and her family escaped and hid in the Lipichanski forest. In summer 1944, the Soviet Army liberated the region and Chana’s family returned to Zdzieciol. Following the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland in 1939, Josef’s family left Lida, and went to live with his maternal grandparents in Radun. Following the German occupation in summer 1941, a ghetto was established in Radun. In 1942, German authorities shot one of Josef’s sisters and his grandparents and liquidated the Radun ghetto. Josef’s other sister escaped into the woods, while Josef and his parents were sent to the Lida ghetto, where they were later placed on a transport. In November 1943, Josef escaped and became a partisan. Following liberation in summer 1944, Josef joined the Soviet Army. After the war ended in 1945, Josef and Chana married. In January 1948, their daughter Fruma (later Fran Matlow) was born at Eggenfelden. In 1949, the family immigrated to the United States.
    Date
    use:  1947 January-1949 May
    Geography
    use: Eggenfelden (Displaced persons camp); Eggenfelden (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Helen and Joseph Matlow
    Contributor
    Subject: Helen Matlow
    Subject: Joseph Matlow
    Biography
    Chana Minuskin (later Helen Matlow) was born on June 4, 1924, in Zdzieciol, Poland (Dziatlava, Belarus), to a Jewish couple, Aaron and Dwora Medwecki Minuskin (later Dora Haidukowski). Aaron, a taxi driver, was born in 1898, in Zdzieciol. Dwora, a housewife and seamstress, was born on May 1, 1901, in Zdzieciol, to Abraham and Zlata Raswacki Medwecki. In 1923, Aaron and Dwora married. Chana had one brother, Moshe (later Michael), born on March 3, 1926. Of the total population of Zdzieciol, 75 percent were Jewish, approximately 3,500 people. The town was called Zhetl in Yiddish. Chana attended a local Jewish school and knew Yiddish and Hebrew.

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On September 17, Germany handed the eastern half of Poland over to Soviet forces in compliance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The agreement, in which Germany and the Soviet Union divided Poland, had been signed on August 23, 1939. Fifteen year old Chana began attending a Soviet school. Following the invasion, many Jewish refugees from western and central Poland arrived in Zdzieciol, raising the population by more than 1,000. On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and occupied eastern Poland. On June 30, German troops entered Zdzieciol. On July 14, the local military commandant ordered Jews to wear a yellow Star of David badge on the front and back of their clothing at all times. On July 23, 120 members of the Jewish intelligentsia were taken from town to serve as forced laborers. Two days later, the remaining Jews discovered the group had been taken to a forest and killed. In December, likely as part of a group of 400 men selected to construct an aerodrome, Moshe, a carpenter, was transferred nearby to a forced labor camp in Dworzec (Dvarėts (Hrodzenskaia voblasts', Belarus).)

    In February 1942, German authorities ordered all Jews in Zdzieciol to leave their homes and move into a partially enclosed ghetto. Special passes were required to leave the ghetto and forced laborers entered and exited under guard. The Germans and their collaborators carried out selections in April and August, selecting thousands of Jews to be shot and buried in mass graves. Chana’s father, Aaron, was killed, likely during one of the selections when healthy workers were pulled aside and shot. In August, Chana and her mother, Dwora, were transferred to Dworzec to serve as civilian forced laborers at the aerodrome. In December, Chana, Dwora, and Moshe escaped from Dworzec. They joined other escaped Jews hiding in the Lipichanski forest, which served as a base of operations for several groups of Jewish partisans and Soviet resistance fighters. In July 1944, the Soviet Army advanced on the region and liberated all those Jews in the forest and the neighboring towns, ghettos and camps. In August, Chana, Dwora, and Moshe returned to Zdzieciol, where Dwora married Hersh Haidukowski (1889 - ?), one of approximately 370 Jewish survivors from their town.

    On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. In 1945, Chana married Josef Matlowsky, a survivor that had escaped from Radun and Lida ghettos in Poland, before becoming a partisan and Soviet Army soldier following liberation in summer 1944. The couple went to Łódź, Poland. Abraham and Zlata Medwecki, Helen’s maternal grandparents, aunt, and cousin are presumed to have perished during the Holocaust. In May 1946, Josef and Chana went to Funk-Kaserne, a displaced persons camp in the American controlled zone near Munich, Germany. In January 1947, they went to Eggenfelden displaced persons camp. Chana’s mother, brother, and step-father went to Föhrenwald displaced persons camp. On January 22, 1948, Chana and Josef’s daughter, Fruma (Fran), was born in Eggenfelden. On May 29, 1949, Chana, Josef, and Fruma sailed from Bremerhaven, Germany, on the USAT General Holbrook, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 8. The family boarded a train to Ohio, settled in Cleveland, and changed their names to Helen, Joseph, and Fran Matlow. On December 13, Dwora, Hersh, and Moshe sailed from Bremerhaven, to New York City, New York, on the USAT General Blatchford. Dwora and Moshe changed their names to Dora and Michael. In May 1952, Helen and Joseph’s son, Aaron, was born. Helen’s mother, Dora, and brother, Michael, passed away. Joseph died on October 30, 2015, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Helen, 94, died in May 2017, in Beachwood, Ohio.
    Josef Matlowsky (Joseph Matlow) was born on December 8, 1921, in Lida, Poland (Belarus), to a Jewish couple, Rubin and Fruma Slodovnik Matlowsky. Rubin, a tailor and businessman, was born in 1893, in Lida. He had a brother and a sister. Fruma, a housewife, was born in 1895, in Radun, Poland (now Belarus), to Iude and Iachil Slodovnik. Fruma had five brothers and one sister. Rubin’s sister immigrated to the United States. Rubin considered emigration until the beginning of World War I (1914-1918). At the end of World War I (1914-1918), Lida was claimed as part of the new nation state of Poland. Just after the war, Rubin and Fruma married and they had four children, Josef and three daughters: Ida Rachel (Edith, b. 1918), Typki (Toby, b. 1921), and Michla (b. 1922). Josef’s family lived comfortably in an apartment, kept kosher, and was very observant. They were involved in the large Jewish community that made up roughly one third of Lida’s population. Josef and his sisters attended a local Polish school until increased anti-Semitism forced them to transfer to Hebrew day school. They spoke Yiddish at home and practiced Polish with a tutor. After finishing school, Josef became a cabinetmaker. His sister, Edith, married, moved away, and gave birth to a child.

    Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Rubin was drafted to serve in the Polish Army, but returned home once he saw Poland would lose. Lida was heavily bombed during the invasion and the Matlowsky family’s building was among those hit. Rubin’s brother’s family was killed during the bombings. German soldiers were stationed in Lida until September 17, when Germany handed eastern Poland to Soviet forces in compliance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, signed on August 23, 1939. Josef, Rubin, Fruma, Michla, and Toby travelled to Radun by horse wagon in the middle of the night to avoid detection by German authorities. The invasion had not touched the small town, and Josef’s family moved in with his maternal grandparents, Iude and Iachil.

    On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and occupied eastern Poland. In July, a ghetto for Jews was established in Radun. In October, Jews were required to begin wearing a yellow Star of David badge on their clothing. Many of the men, among them Rubin and likely Josef, were taken to do forced labor in the woods nearby. German authorities passed laws requiring all Jews to carry identity papers. The Matlowsky family members had to return to Lida, their hometown, to get the correct papers. Josef’s sister Toby, refused to go, though anyone without papers could be seized and taken away. She spoke German and Russian and believed that she could explain why she had no papers and would be left alone. On January 25, 1942, during a snowstorm, German authorities seized 40 Jews in Radun, including paperless Toby, and shot them as the townspeople, Josef and his family among them, watched. Several, including Toby, survived and were shot in the head. The authorities gave the townspeople 20 minutes to bury the bodies in the frozen ground, or 40 more Jews would be shot.

    On May 10, 1942, German authorities liquidated the Radun ghetto. Josef, his parents, sister Michla, an aunt, an uncle, and cousins managed to sneak into an attic hiding space, but Josef’s elderly grandparents, Iude and Iachil, were too slow to hide and were shot as they tried to run. That night, Josef’s family escaped from the ghetto and Rubin told the younger family members to go and hide in the woods. Michla and several others who escaped went into the woods and Josef stayed with his parents, hoping to keep them alive by volunteering to do forced labor. Josef, Fruma, Rubin, an aunt, uncle, and cousins went to the ghetto in Lida, where Rubin tailored clothing for the Germans. Josef’s family received word from Michla telling them to come hide in the woods with the partisans. His aunt, uncle, and cousins escaped and followed her advice. Later in the year, his parents were placed on a transport and taken away. On November 10, 1943, Josef escaped from the ghetto. He became a partisan, fighting in the woods around Lida, with several groups including the Nepobedimy detachment of the Leninskaya brigade and three other detachments where he was a captain. In summer 1944, Soviet forces liberated the region. As a liberated partisan, he joined the Soviet Army and continued fighting German forces in the region around Lida.

    On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. Josef left the army and started working for the Soviet police in Zdzieciol, Poland (Dziatlava, Belarus). His sister Michla, who had survived by fighting in the woods as a partisan, found him and asked him to go with her to Radun. He wanted to keep making money and told her to go without him. He married Chana Minuskin (1924 – 2017), a survivor from Zdzieciol that had worked as a forced laborer at an aerodrome in Dworzec (Dvarėts (Hrodzenskaia voblasts', Belarus) before escaping and hiding in the Lipichanski forest with her mom and brother. The couple went to Łódź, Poland. In May 1946, Josef and Chana went to Funk-Kaserne, a displaced persons camp in the American controlled zone near Munich, Germany, and in January 1947, they went to Eggenfelden displaced persons camp. On January 22, 1948, Josef and Chana’s daughter, Fruma (Fran), was born in Eggenfelden. On May 29, 1949, Josef, Chana, and Fruma sailed from Bremerhaven, Germany, on the USAT General Holbrook, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 8. The family boarded a train to Ohio, settled in Cleveland, and changed their names to Joseph, Helen, and Fran Matlow. Joseph’s sister, Michla, married a partisan fighter, Henry Berkowitz, and they immigrated to the United States with their son in August 1949. Michla changed her name to Miriam. In May 1952, Joseph and Helen’s son, Aaron was born. All of Josef’s extended family members perished in the Holocaust. The aunt, uncle, and cousins who hid with Michla eventually left the woods, went to the Grodno (Hrodna) ghetto, and were not heard from again. His sister Edith, her husband, and their newborn baby were shot by German authorities just after the 1939 invasion. His parents, Fruma and Rubin, were transported to Auschwitz concentration camp in German occupied Poland in 1942, and killed. Joseph, 93, died on October 30, 2015, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Household Utensils
    Category
    Cookware
    Object Type
    Dutch ovens (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Deep, circular, metal cooking pot coated with dark red enamel paint. The pot has a flat base with a rounded edge, straight sides, and rolled rim with 2 c-shaped handles soldered to the sides just below it. The exterior is shiny, while the interior coating is dull and uneven. The rim supports the overhanging rim of a lid (b) when in use. It is well used with chipped enamel, corroded patches, and scorch marks.

    b. Circular, metal lid with a flat rim coated with dark brown enamel paint. A flattened, c-shaped handle is soldered to the slightly convex center, which extends into a flat, inset surface ringed by a raised rim. The top is shiny, while the underside is dull and uneven. When in use, the rim rests on top of a pot (a). It is well used with chipped enamel and corroded patches throughout.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 4.125 inches (10.478 cm) | Width: 9.250 inches (23.495 cm) | Depth: 6.750 inches (17.145 cm)
    b: Height: 1.250 inches (3.175 cm) | Diameter: 7.125 inches (18.098 cm)
    Materials
    a : metal, enamel paint
    b : metal, enamel paint

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Eggenfelden (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The Dutch oven was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2003 by Helen and Joseph Matlow.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:28:30
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn513683

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us