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Stuffed brown bear owned by a Polish Jewish girl and recovered postwar

Object | Accession Number: 1991.234.1

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    Stuffed brown bear owned by a Polish Jewish girl and recovered postwar


    Brief Narrative
    Teddy bear owned by Zofia Chorowicz and kept with her in the Krakow and Wolbrom ghettos in 1941 and 1942. Zofia’s parents, Isydor and Rachela, gave her the bear in the 1930’s. Zofia entrusted the teddy bear, a doll, and other family valuables to a non-Jewish Polish family, who gave them back to Zofia after the war ended in May 1945. Zofia, 18, and her mother Rachela were forced to move into the Krakow ghetto, established by German authorities in March 1941. In 1941 or 1942, they were moved to Wolbrom, Poland. During a selection on September 5, 1942, Zofia was sent to a labor camp in Krakow. Her mother was killed. In fall 1943, Zofia was sent to be a slave laborer in the HASAG factory in Skarzysko-Kamienna labor camp. In August 1944, she was sent to the HASAG factory in Leipzig-Schoenefeld, Germany. In April 1945, the camp was evacuated and Zofia was sent on a death march. She was liberated on April 29 by British forces near Cavertitz, Germany. Zofia returned to Krakow after the war ended.
    received:  after 1930-before 1939
    recovered:  after 1945 May
    use: Krakow ghetto; Krakow (Poland)
    use: Wolbrom ghetto; Wolbrom (Poland)
    recovery: Krakow (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Zofia Burowska
    Subject: Zofia Burowska
    Zofia Chorowicz was born on March 5, 1923, in Krakow, Poland, to Isydor and Rachela Horowitz Chorowicz. Isydor’s father was Mendel Chorowicz. Isydor had three brothers: Lajb, Saul, and Wilek. Zofia’s mother Rachela was born on December 29, 1892, in Jaroslaw, to Izaak and Anna (Chana) Bauminger Horowitz. She had a twin sister, Rebeka, and a brother, Chaim Saul, born on September 26, 1894. Her mother Anna was born on January 10, 1867, in Noworadomsk (Radomsko, Poland). Zofia’s family was Jewish, but not observant. Her maternal grandmother Anna, a widow, lived with them. Zofia’s maternal uncle Chaim Saul, his wife Lola, and their children Alfred and Jerzy also lived in Krakow. Zofia’s father Isydor died circa 1938/39.

    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Krakow was occupied by German forces a week later. In December, Jews were required to wear Star of David armbands. Zofia worked for the Jewish community in the medical help department. Her family had to register as Jews with the German authorities and obtain identity cards. In March 1941, a ghetto was established in Krakow. In 1941 or 1942, Zofia’s family was moved to Wolbrom, a town near Krakow. In April 1942, at the end of Passover, a ghetto was established in Wolbrom. Zofia was able to keep some precious items, including a doll and teddy bear, with her in the Krakow and Wolbrom ghettos. She decided to give them to some non-Jewish friends to keep safe for her. On September 5, there was a selection in the ghetto. Zofia was deemed fit for work and sent to a labor camp, a Julag, in Krakow later that day. Zofia tried to get Rachela out of the ghetto and into the camp. When she finally arranged for someone to get Rachela, it was too late. Rachela, along with her brother Chaim Saul, had been killed by the authorities on September 5, the same day Zofia was sent to the labor camp. In October or November 1943, Zofia was transferred to Skarzysko-Kamienna labor camp, a factory for Hugo Schneider Aktiengesellschaft Metallwarenfabrik (HASAG), which produced munitions for the German war effort. In July-August 1944, Zofia was transferred to the HASAG factory in Leipzig-Schoenefeld, Germany, a subcamp of Buchenwald. She arrived on August 4, was assigned prisoner number 877, and was a slave laborer in the ammunition factory. In April 1945, the camp was evacuated and Zofia was sent on a death march. On April 29, Zofia was liberated by British forces near Cavertitz, Germany.

    After liberation, Zofia returned to Krakow, Poland. She retrieved the possessions she had left with her non-Jewish friends. She married Josef Burowska. She got her PhD and worked as a researcher, author, and professor in music education. Zofia, 81, passsed away in 2004.

    Physical Details

    Stuffed animals
    Object Type
    Teddy bears (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Dark brown cloth bear covered with short, tufted, brown artificial fur and filled with wood shavings. The hard head has a protruding snout, 2 small, domed, black plastic eyes, and loose thread where ears may have been attached. The elongated oval body has only the left leg attached; the right leg and both arms have torn off. There is a twisted metal rod and hole where the right leg was attached and holes where the arms were attached. The firm, movable left leg is attached with a metal rod and narrows to the foot, which has light brown cloth around the bottom edge, but the rest is torn off, with the stuffing missing. The body is missing stuffing from 2 tears in the front center. The fur has rubbed off in several places, especially on the snout and the foot.
    overall: Height: 11.750 inches (29.845 cm) | Width: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm) | Depth: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm)
    overall : cloth, wood, metal, plastic, thread

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The teddy bear was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1991 by Zofia Chorowicz Burowska.
    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:
    2022-11-01 10:03:26
    This page:

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