Shlomo Krieser (1896-1942) was born in Oswiecim, Poland on January 5, 1896. He married Perla Katz (1899-1942) who was born on June 15, 1899 in Sborov, Poland. Their daughter, Hilda Krieser, was born on March 14, 1924 in Cologne, Germany. The family moved to Antwerp, Belgium and their second daughter Hannah “Anny” was born there on September 4, 1929. Their parents worked together in the clothing business. Perla worked as a seamstress making the clothes that Shlomo sold. The family was religious and belonged to the movement “Tnua Tikvatenu.”
On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, and three days later, the Krieser family escaped by train to France. They arrived in Toulouse, France, and from there were sent by the French authorities to a village in Tam-et-Garonne province. After learning their relative were in Bagnéres-de-Luchon, France, the family decided to join them. Soon after, the French police arrested them and sent them first to Agde concentration camp and from there to the Rivesaltes internment camp. Conditions were terrible. The barracks were cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and the family did not have appropriate clothing or adequate food. Hilda noticed that the Secours Suisse operated a home for small children in the camp. She approached the director, Mlle. Elsa Ruth, to ask for work, in order to find useful activity and receive better food, and was accepted. After a while, Mlle. Elsa arranged for Hilda and Hannah Krieser to leave the camp for Pringy, a Secours Suisse children’s home in Haute Savoie, France.
The sisters arrived in Pringy, France in November 1941 at the home run by Ruth von de Wild. They remained there until August 1942 when French policemen ordered the returned to Rivesaltes to “reunite” with their family prior to deportation. When the girls’ mother learned that they were on the list to be deported, she immediately went to the Red Cross hut to see Friedel Reiter. Friedel went to the director of the camp who called Maurice Dubois, director of the Swiss Red Cross in France, hoping to get them out. However, since they were on the list, they could only be taken off it two other girls went in their place. They were unwilling to do this. Instead, the commandant of Rivesaltes told them to run away when they were waiting on the line to enter the cattle cards. Friedel Bohny retrieved them from the line and took them to a storage hut to hide until the transport left. Freidel also brought other small children to this hut and told Hilda and Hannah to watch them so they would not cry. They remained there for three days with the children until the train left. Then, with the help of the Red Cross and Andree Salomon, they returned to Pringy. They remained there hidden among Christian children. Hilda helped take care of fifteen children using the false name of Helene Rambaux. Hannah kept her own name, and the sisters remained in Pringy until the liberation of Paris, France.
At the end of World War II, Hilda went to Annecy, France, and found work caring for a family’s children. It turned out that this family was Jewish, and she went to live with them in Avignon, France. Hannah remained in Pringy until the home closed. Afterwards, Hilda brought Hannah with her to Grenoble, France, where she took courses in stenography and worked for ORT. Hilda later worked in a maternity clinic. In February 1947 they witnessed a transport of concentration camp survivors going to Palestine organized by Eri, the son of Jabotinsky. He suggested that they join as well. They returned home to arrange all their things, and two days later they sailed on the “Ben Hecht” to Haifa. The British would not let the ship land in Palestine, and they were then sent to Cyprus where they remained for 14 months. They finally came to Palestine on April 28, 1948.
Shlomo Krieser was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp on transport 24, on August 26, 1942. Perla Krieser was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp on transport 31, on September 11, 1942. Both perished at Auschwitz, which was Shlomo Krieser's hometown.