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Klara Salamon papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2007.23

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    Klara Salamon papers

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    The Klara Salamon papers comprised documents created primarily by Salamon while she was held in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from 1943-1945. These papers include a diary made of toilet paper sewn together by Salamon, as well as notes and a birthday card passed between her and a friend, Nina, while both were interned in the camp. In her diary, Klara muses, in four different languages, about her friends and a particular boy named Alek in an adjacent camp whom she was attracted to. During her internment, Klara wrote love notes to Alek, which she passed to him through a friend. Ultimately, the messenger girl and Alek married after the war. Also included in this collection is one post-war document from U.S. Army Captain Dr. John Hollander asking Lieutenant Smith to please take care of Klara and her family, as Klara briefly worked in the Allied hospital set up near Magdeburg. On the basis of this note, Klara, her father, and twelve others were able to leave Germany and enter France.
    inclusive:  1943-1945
    Collection Creator
    Klara Samuels
    Klara Samuels (1927-) was born in Warsaw, Poland to Moses and Rosza Salomon. Moses, a physician, graduated from the University of Kharkov in 1912 with a specialization in bacteriology. He spent World War I practicing medicine in Russia. Her parents met in 1924 and married in February 1926. Klara was an only child. She attended a private Jewish girls school in Warsaw, and was therefore shielded from the anti-Semitism she may have encountered in public school. When the Nazis invaded Poland, a bomb hit the Salomon’s apartment, forcing them to move in with an aunt and uncle. Within a few weeks, Moses decided that the family should flee east into Russia. In late October 1939, Klara and her mother, her aunt, uncle, and cousin Henry, piled into a truck bound for Sarnaki on the Bug River. Her father decided to stay behind to finish putting the plans in place for their intended destination—Vilnius. Though there were several close calls, they managed to make it to Bialystok, where they lived (without Moses) until the spring of 1940, when he was able to join them. The family found out that they would be forced to register as German refugees, and would have to choose between moving further into Russia, staying in the annexed zone, or returning to Poland. Not liking any of the options (as they still planned for Lithuania), they checked the “return” box and traveled to Lida, a small town near the Lithuanian border, hoping for the right moment to sneak in. They were arrested for being suspiciously close to the border and Moses was separated from them and sent to Baranowicze to stand trial. Klara and her mother, after being released, returned to Bialystok to wait for him. To get closer to Baranowicze, Klara and her mother moved to Slonim in September 1940, where Klara once again attended school. Her father was released in late June 1941, after the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Her father opened a practice and they stayed in Slonim until December, when the rumors of mass shootings reached the family. Moses decided that it would be safest to return to Warsaw, where they at least had family. In December 1941, Klara and her parents moved into the Warsaw ghetto. In July 1942, when the large scale deportations began, Klara’s family went into hiding in a small, internal attic, with one of the family of one of her father’s former partners, Dr. Jellin. In September 1942, they emerged from hiding and became laborers. Through her father’s contacts in his workshop, they obtained Aryan papers and Klara and her mother managed to leave the ghetto as Poles in October 1942. They went into hiding in the town of Konstancin with the assistance of the Rozwadowski family, with Moses joining them in February 1943. With the help of Mr. Rozwadowski, found out about the Hotel Polski. The Germans had designed the Hotel Polski as a place where they claimed that they would not harass immigrants waiting for visas so the family left Konstancin and moved there, putting their names on a list stating their intention to emigrate to Palestine. They were only there two days before boarding passenger trains, which, instead of taking them to Switzerland to wait, brought the family to Bergen-Belsen in June 1943. The family stayed in Bergen-Belsen for 22 months, yet were in a protected part of the camp. They kept their own clothes, were forced to attend appels but did not work, and could manage their own affairs. Moses was elected to be the group’s representative and could petition the Germans for things that the group needed. Rosza died of natural causes in December 1943 , and was given a Jewish funeral. Klara and her father were liberated by the British in April 1945. After the war ended, the Salomon were issued a pass to France, where they boarded a boat to Palestine. Klara moved to the United States to attend college (Barnard) in 1947, while Moses remained in Tel Aviv. She graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and married Bert Samuels in Jan. 1955.

    Physical Details

    4 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Klara Salamon papers are arranged as a single series.

    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

    Klara Samuels donated her collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Dec. 26, 2006.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:19:05
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