Moshe Sheps papers
Document | Accession Number: 1999.258.1
The Moshe Sheps papers consists of 52 photographs and a postcard relating to Moshe Sheps' family before and during World War II in Poland.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Moshe M. Sheps
- Document Creator
- Moshe M. Sheps
Moshe Moniek Sheps was born on January 6, 1923 in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland. He is the youngest of three children of Abraham Itzhak, born in 1887, who manufactured cigarettes and Chava Wolhandler Szeps, born in 1889, a wig maker. Moniek’s sisters: Fela, born on September 22, 1918 and Sabina Szewa, born in July 22, 1921 attended public school and belonged to “Gordonia”, a Zionist Socialist youth organization. Moniek attended “Heder”, religious school for boys and later “Yavne” Mizrachi Hebrew elementary school in Będzin. At age eleven he joined “Hashomer Hadati”, a Zionist religious youth movement and participated in meetings and summer camps organized by the Mizrachi movement. Later he attended the Furstenberg Gymnasium, a private, coeducational high school taught in Hebrew. In September 1939, soon after the German invasion, the Szeps family was forced to move to an area that later became a ghetto. Moniek worked for Dąbrowa Górnicza City Hall and had a work permit “Der Blaue Sonderberufsschein”, which protected him from deportations. The offices were located outside the ghetto, which enabled Moniek to purchase tobacco for his father’s cigarette workshop and bring additional food products for the family. Fela and Sabina Szewa worked in the Rosner military uniform workshops, but on February 7, 1942 both girls were deported to the Grünberg slave labor camp, a sub camp of Gross Rosen. There they worked for “Deutsche Wollwaren Manufaktur GmbH”, a textile factory, until April 1945, when the prisoners were forced on a “Death March” to Volary in Czechoslovakia. Fela Szeps, who attended the Warsaw University until 1939, together with her younger sister, Sabina Szewa, kept a diary in the slave labor camp. They wrote it on scraps of paper and held the pages in a cloth pouch. Fela died on May 8, 1945 in Volary. Her diary is in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. Moniek Szeps, who was 21 years old in 1942, took it upon himself to send food and clothing parcels to his older sisters. On July 23, 1942 the Dąbrowa, Sosnowiec and Będzin ghettos were liquidated and Abram Izak and Chava Szeps were deported to the Auschwitz death camp. They were murdered upon arrival.
Moniek continued sending food packages to his sisters in spite of a German order prohibiting Jews to send mail. He sold all his parents’ valuables and was ready for an escape but on March 19, 1943, at 3AM, the SS and the Jewish police arrested him. Moniek was imprisoned in “Dulag”[Durchlager], a transit camp in Sosnowiec and later transferred to Blechhammer slave labor camp, a sub-camp of Auschwitz III Monowitz. Sometime later he was transferred to Bunzlau, a sub-camp of Gross-Rosen, where he was a slave laborer for “Hubert Land, Holzbau”. Taking advantage of the fact that Czech forced laborers were allowed contacts with their families, Moniek continued sending food packages and letters to his sisters in Grünberg. In February 1945 the Germans evacuated the camp and after many stops, the convoy arrived in Dora Mittelbau concentration camp. The prisoners were ordered to change their uniforms and undergo disinfection. Moniek, who hid the family photographs on his body during the whole time of his imprisonment, hid them in his shoe and dipped only the heels of the shoes in the disinfectant. After the inspection he returned the precious photographs back to the pouch on his belly. The prisoners were transferred to Ellrich concentration camp, a sub camp of Buchenwald and later to Bergen-Belsen. On April 15, 1945 the British Army liberated the camp. While Moniek was hospitalized in a British field hospital with typhus, his friend, Motek Nussbaum took care of the photographs. Moniek was reunited with his sister Sabina Sheva, who survived the death march and was in a DP camp in Salzburg, Austria. Two months later Moniek joined a Zionist youth organization United Zionist Youth and the group organized a “kibbutz” on an estate in Geringshof near Fulda and called it: “Kibbutz Buchenwald’. The young survivors learned agriculture in preparation for immigration to Palestine. Moniek and his future wife, Zahava Zilberstein, a survivor from Rumania, immigrated illegally to Palestine, were caught by the British and were sent to a transit camp in Cyprus. Moshe and Zahava Sheps reside currently in Kiriat Motzkin, Israel. They have two children and four grandchildren. Sabina Bat-Sheva Szeps Admoni and her husband Yehoshua Admoni (Oskar Rotman from Stanisławów) live in Ashkelon, Israel. They have two children and four grandchildren.
- System of Arrangement
- The Moshe Sheps papers is arranged in a single series.
- Topical Term
Ethnic neighborhoods--Poland--Dąbrowa Górnicza--1940-1950.
Youth organizations--Poland--Dąbrowa Górnicza--1930-1940.
- Personal Name
Szeps, Abraham Izak.
Szeps, Chava Miriam Wollhendler.
Szeps, Sabina Szewa.
Szeps, Fela Tzipora.
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- Moshe Sheps donated the Moshe Sheps papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1999.
- 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
- 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.
Record last modified: 2022-06-21 11:18:00
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