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Ray Kaner collection

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2008.390.1

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    Ray Kaner collection

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    The collection includes four notebooks and loose pages by written by Rachela Bryk, survivor of Łódź ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, immediately after the war. In the diary she recalls events from her past and records incidents and feelings related to her state post liberation, dated July 1945 to spring 1946. Photographs depict Rachela Bryk's family before the war and after the war in a DP camp in Germany, dated 1945-1946.
    inclusive:  1945-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ray Kaner
    Collection Creator
    Ray Kaner
    Ray Kaner was born as Rachela Bryk on December 10, 1927 in Lodz, Poland. She was the youngest child of Nechemia and Dwojra Tauba Bryk. The family resided on 16 Zawadzka Street. Rachela had four older siblings: Josef (b. 1913) who died before the war; Szprynca Tauba (Sala, b.1920); Levy (Lajwo, b. 1922) and Eliasz (Elus, b. 1924). Nechemia had a contract for supply of provisions to different institutions.

    In March 1940 the Bryk family was forced into the ghetto located in the Baluty section of Lodz. At first they lived on 7 Zielna Street. In August 1940 Nechemia got sick and died. In December 1940 Levy volunteered to go to a labor camp and build a highway between Frankfurt and Poznan. The families of the volunteers which remained in the ghetto received 12 marks per week. Levy survived a few years under terrible conditions until the Germans transported him to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was murdered.

    Between spring of 1940 until the fall of 1941 Rachela attended school in the ghetto, where she received a bowl of soup every day. Upon closing of the schools she started to work in “Stickerei” embroidering workshop, where teenagers embroidered Nazi insignia.

    During the mass deportations in the spring of 1942 the Bryk family received deportation orders from the ghetto commission. A few days before the date they were supposed to appear at the deportation center, Dwojra became sick. She was declared ill with typhus and the apartment where they lived was put under quarantine. Dwojra Bryk died on March 24, 1942; her death saved her three children from deportation to the Chelmno death center.

    During the “Gehsperre” Aktion in September 1942, Rachela worked in children’s sewing factory, which was located on 37 Lagiewnicka Street and she saw firsthand German brutality and bloodthirstiness during this Aktion.

    In March 1943 Rachel, her sister Sala and brother Elus had to move to an apartment at 27 Wolborska Street, because a wooden wall in their former apartment was stolen for kindling.

    On June 26, 1944 Elus was caught and deported to the Chelmno killing center. Two months later Rachel and Sala, alongside 70,000 other Lodz Jews, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After 2 weeks in Birkenau the sisters were transferred to Hambieren labor camp near Celle. In February 1945 Rachela was transferred to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, where she became very ill. She and Sala were liberated by the British Army in April 1945.

    After the liberation Rachel met Leon Kaner, brother of her good friend Estusia Kaner from the ghetto. They married in 1946 and immigrated to the United States. Ray and Leon Kaner settled in New York. Ray worked for many years as a volunteer for the Center for Holocaust Documentation and Research in Brooklyn, NY, where she interviewed survivors.

    Ray and Leon Kaner have two children: Debbie, a lawyer and Charles, a dentist. Ray works as an office manager of her son’s busy practice.

    Physical Details

    2 folders

    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

    Geographic Name
    Lódź (Poland)
    Personal Name
    Bryk, Rachela.

    Administrative Notes

    Ray Kaner (born Rachela Bryk) donated this collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2008.
    Funding Note
    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 13:18:45
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