Grynfeld and Grynglas families' papers
The papers consist of a registration form ("Anmeldung") and eight photographs 2 of which are adhered to documents that contain text relating to the experiences of the Grynfeld-Grynglas familes in Łódź, Poland, and the displaced persons camp in Leipheim, Germany.
- Document Creator
- Eliezer Grynfeld
Lolek Eliezer Grynfeld was born on October 18, 1923 in Łódź, Poland to Abram Mosze Grynfeld and Chaja Hela Rozental Grynfeld. His parents divorced when Lolek was a young boy. Lolek and his mother lived with the Rozental family - eight people in a three room apartment - on 4 Nowomiejska Street. Lolek’s mother worked in a department store as the manager of the shoe department. Lolek’s maternal grandparents were orthodox Jews and tried to instill religion in Lolek but without much success.
At the age of 14, Lolek graduated from elementary school and started to attend a gymnasium for working youth. In the mornings, he worked at a store and later in a printing house.
At the beginning of the wars, he witnessed a German policeman entering the apartment of his friends, the Cytryn family. The policeman terrorized the three Crtryn children who were along in the apartment. The policeman demanded money and valuables, and cut off one of the side locks of the little boy as well as one of the braids of Salusia Cytryn.
In April 1940, Lolek, his mother, and grandparents were moved into the Łódź ghetto. Both grandparents, Abram and Rojza Rozental, died in the ghetto. In the ghetto, Lolek worked as a mailman at the ghetto post office, and his mother in a paper workshop. Later, Lolek got a job at the main hospital in the ghetto where he was responsible for coordinating the internal correspondence of all the hospitals in the ghetto. He later worked as a receptionist at the hospital. Lolek received additional portions of soup in the hospital which enabled him to give his regular rations to his mother.
Lolek became ill with jaundice and was hospitalized during the first day of an aktion which targeted the hospitals. He registered as a patient, but was afraid that the Germans would come looking for him. Lolek entered the hospital on 37 Lagiewnicka and tore out the page of the hospital register with his name. Later that week, he wore his white coat and stood together with his mother during a selection. He and his mother survived the aktion. During the Gehsperre aktion, Lolek worked in the hospital, removing corpses and cleaning up after deportations. At some point he supplied the drug “Wigantol” to a sick woman, an act which earned him a new position in the Labor Department of the ghetto. In the Labor Department, he was responsible for bringing orders for goods to the various workshops in the ghetto.
In August 1944, the Łódź ghetto was liquidated. Most inhabitants were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Lolek, through his contacts with Mr. Jakubowicz, who was responsible for all the workshops in the ghetto, was able to transfer his mother to his group. On October 21, 1944, Lolek’s group, some 500 people, was taken to Sachenhausen-Oranienburg and Ravensbrück.
In March 1945, the prisoners of Sachsenhausen were forced on a death march. Among them was Mendel Grosman, the Łódź ghetto photographer, who was ultimately killed by one of the German guards. Lolek and two friends escaped the march. Lolek returned to Łódź in May 1945. When he entered his cousins’ house, he found his mother sitting on the steps, she had survived Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Lolek became a leader in the kibbutz - group of Zionist youth who planned immigration to Palestine. Lolek met Rachelka Grynglas during one of the meetings with representative of the movement from Palestine. They married on March 26, 1946. After the wedding, they crossed the border to Germany and settled in the Leipheim DP camp. There they waited to immigrate to Eretz Israel. In October 1946, Lolek became very ill, and Lolek and Rachelka returned to Łódź. Rachelka worked in a Jewish kindergarten and Lolek learned leather work. In 1956, Lolek and Rachelka Grynfeld immigrated to Israel with their two small children, Ewa (Chava) and Adam. Both children married and had children of their own. In 1992, Adam Grynfeld was injured during his military service and became confined to a wheelchair. Rachel and Eliezer Grynfeld reside in Holon, Israel.
Rachelka Grynglas (later Rachel Grynfeld) was born on January 2, 1925, in Łódź, Poland to Abram Grynglas and Hela (Mariem Jocewed) Pakula Grynglas (b. 1890). Abram Grynglas worked as a merchant and Hela Grynglas owned and managed a bakery. The family lived at Stary Rynek 3, above the bakery and a coffee shop. Abram Grynglas was a Zionist, and Hela kept kosher. Rachelka had two brothers Max Benjamin Minek Grynglas (b. Deocember 1920) and Dawid (Dawidek) Grynglas (b. April 1929).
Rachelka attended the Jewish Gymnasium #221 which taught the Hebrew language. Minek graduated from the Hebrew Gymnasium in Łódź and started graduate studies at a polytechnic in Nancy, France. His father convinced Minek to transfer to the Technion (Tekhniyon, Makhon teknologi le-Yi’sra’el) in Haifa, Palestine. Minek passed the entrance exams and was supposed to start his studies in October 1939.
When Łódź became part of the German Reich, Abram and Hela Grynglas decided to move to Warsaw, Poland. Abram and Minek went to Warsaw to secure an apartment for the family. Minek stayed in Warsaw, but Abram returned to Łódź to retrieve his wife and two younger children. However, after his return, the Germans had sealed the ghetto and the family was trapped.
The pre-war apartment of the Grynglas family was located on Zgierska Street which was included within the perimeters of the ghetto. Rachelka’s maternal grandfather, Pakula, and other family member moved into the apartment. Both Rachelka and Dawidek attended school in the ghetto. Rachelke graduated from the gymnasium in June 1941. A few months later the ghetto schools closed.
In April 1942, Dawidek became 13 years old and his parents decided to prepare him for his Bar Mitzvah. The family hired a tutor, whom they paid out of the family’s soup rations. In the ghetto, Hele Grynglas worked in a paper workshop. Abram Grynglas was offered a position with the ghetto police, but he refused and continued to work the ghetto store. After the store closed, he transformed the store into a public kitchen where people could bring their produce and prepare soup in a common kitchen. Rachelka worked in a succession of workshops including a carpet-making workshop and a metal workshop.
At some point Abram Grynglas was denounced for having valuables. He was arrested and beaten. The police searched his apartment, found and confiscated gold coins.
During the “Gehsperre” aktion in September 1942, Rachelka, her brother, and her mother hid in a space between their apartment and the former ghetto store. Rachelka’s paternal grandmother, Neszka, also hid and survived. In August 1944, the family was deported to Auschwtiz-Birkenau concentration camp. Rachelka was separated from her parents and brother. She was transferred to the Halbstadt labor camp at the end of October 1944 where she worked until liberation by the Soviet Army in May 1945.
After liberation, Rachelka returned to her hometown of Łódź. Only herself and a cousin, Pola Domb, survived. Soon after her return to Łódź, she met Lolek Grynfeld, a leader in a kibbutz, at a Zionist youth movement meeting. They married on March 26, 1946. After the wedding, they crossed the border to Germany and settled in the Leipheim DP camp. There they waited to immigrate to Eretz Israel. In October 1946, Lolek became very ill, and Lolek and Rachelka returned to Łódź. Rachelka worked in a Jewish kindergarten and Lolek learned leather work. In 1956, Lolek and Rachelka Grynfeld immigrated to Israel with their two small children, Ewa (Chava) and Adam. Both children married and had children of their own. In 1992, Adam Grynfeld was injured during his military service and became confined to a wheelchair. Rachel and Eliezer Grynfeld reside in Holon, Israel.
- System of Arrangement
- The Grynfeld and Grynglas families' papers is arranged in a single series.
- Topical Term
- Geographic Name
Leipheim (Germany : Refugee camp)
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- Eliezer and Rachel Grynfeld donated the Grynfeld and Grynglas familes' papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005.
- Funding Note
- The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Record last modified: 2020-08-06 14:17:56
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