Hyman Lader was born Chaim Lajdor in Łódź, Poland on July 24, 1906, to Herschel and Mary (née Fuks) Lajdor. He was the eldest child and older brother to Fay (Fayga, b. June 19, 1908), and Irving (Itche, b. June 17, 1910). Hyman attended the local Cheder and trained in the violin, with the encouragement of his father Herschel, who made his living as a musician. During World War I, the family moved temporarily to Gąbin, though Herschel remained in Łódź during the week to work. In 1922, Herschel left for the United States. (He died on June 24, 1944 in New York City.) Hyman took a job with a Yiddish theater in Częstochowa and later found work back in Łódź. In 1930, his mother Mary and brother Irving joined Herschel in the United States while Hyman continued to make his living as a musician with orchestras and accompanying films in Poland. His sister Fayga left for the United States in 1932. Due to worsening conditions, Hyman tried to smuggle himself into Russia, but was not successful since his smuggler got arrested and instead got stuck in Rovno. There he met someone who encouraged him to teach music in a nearby town of Varkovychi, so he moved there and taught music and created a student orchestra. He was unable to join his family in the United States, as the Great Depression meant that a strong affidavit and bond was necessary to obtain a visa. In September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, Hyman was living in Łódź with his distant cousin and family. On September 6, as the Nazis advanced, Hyman quickly joined a mass of people leaving the city. Hyman found out later that the crowd was headed towards Warsaw where he eventually ended up. A day after Warsaw surrendered to the Germans, on September 28, 1939 Hyman was forced to clean up from the aerial destruction of the city. Refugees were allowed to return home, so, although he was penniless and exhausted, he made his way back to Varkovychi and registered to work in the Soviet Union. There, he met Chaja Biterman and Beryl (Boris) Gertelman, who introduced him to Molly Biterman, Chaja’s sister, whom he later married. Along with many other refugees, he left by train in December, 1939 and after two weeks arrived in Krasavino Vologodskaya Oblast. There he was trained as a weaving mechanic and worked in a weaving factory. In 1941, when he received permission to go where he wanted, he left for Kremenchuk, a town in Ukraine on banks of the Dnieper River, where friends were living. Unexpectedly, he found work playing the violin with an ensemble in a movie theater between movies. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June, 1941, Hyman was forced to flee again, eventually reaching Ordzhonikidze, where he reunited with his girlfriend, Molly Biterman. They married on October 25, 1941. In January 1942, Hyman was drafted into the Russian Work Army and sent to Novoshakhtinsk to repair rail lines and loading coal. In 1943, he returned to Ordzhonikidze before being drafted again; first into the Work Army to work in the Ukraine coal mines, then a few months later was accepted into one of the Red Army orchestras. While attempting to avoid the coal mines of Karaganda, he tried to remain in Anzersk, in the Urals near Novosibirsk, and sent a telegram to Molly letting her know where he was. When he found out how bad conditions were there, he instead decided to continue on to his original destination of Karaganda, not realizing that Molly would come looking for him in Anzersk; as a result, they had lost track of each other for over a year. It wasn’t until he received a postcard from the Central Refugee Office in Buguruslan, showing that Molly was registered, that he was able to find her again. His unit participated in a January 1945 offensive in Lublin. At the end of the war, he was stationed on the east side of Elbe River as the Russians and Americans exchanged positions. He soon reunited with Molly in Ordzhonikidze. Their first child, Ann, was born in October 1946. They relocated to Łódź in 1947 and had a second daughter, Rachel, in 1949. In 1950, the family immigrated to Israel, where their son, Harry, was born. Employment proved difficult, and the family moved to Canada in 1952. Due to the quota system, the family was unable to enter the United States until 1956. After several years of working in factories and menial jobs to support his family, Hyman was able to resume his work as a professional violinist, playing with prominent symphony orchestras. He retired from the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in 1989. Hyman Lader passed away on March 30, 2004 in New Orleans, La.
Molly Biterman was born on January 14, 1917 to Shea (Joshua) and Ruchel (Rachel) (née Ruch) in Tyszowce, Poland. She was the eldest of seven children. Her siblings were Kiva, Chaja, Lea, Fishel, Avromele, and Lajbele. Her father worked in the construction of buildings and houses. When the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, the family fled Tyszowce to live in the attic of a friend’s house across the River Huczwa; Molly later found out that the Poles burned down the village. Shea and Ruchel ordered Molly to flee to Russia with her sister Chaja and Chaja's boyfriend, Boris. They left on foot, and then by train, arriving in the Soviet Union as refugees. They ended up in Krasavino on December 25, 1939 by way of Varkovychi where she met Hyman Lader. There, she worked in a weaving factory but left in May, 1940 for Ordzhonikidze by way of Moscow and Kiev due to the harsh living conditions. Boris and Chaja married and Molly got a job in a tailoring factory. After Hyman found his way to Ordzhonikidze, Hyman and Molly got married on Oct. 25, 1941. In October, 1942, with the Nazis advancing, Molly left with Chaja, Boris, and some of Boris’ relatives to Baku, where many refugees had gathered waiting to be taken across the Caspian Sea. With no food or protection against the bombing that occurred, they eventually were evacuated across the sea into Russia. While Chaja and Boris wanted to go further east, Molly decided to try to find Hyman based on a telegram she received from him that he would be in Anzersk. Unbeknownst to her, Hyman had decided to leave Anzersk for Karaganda. Traveling by foot and rail, without any money or identity papers, and nearly starving, Molly could not find Hyman, so she eventually made her way to Turinsk, in the Sverdlovskaya Oblast region on the suggestion of a kind woman stranger who helped her out with a place to stay and food in return for letting Molly help with her children. After several weeks, she got work as a seamstress, found a place to live, and wrote to Chaja. Chaja, who had been sick with Typhus, came to live with her. Molly did not know where Hyman was, or even if he was alive, for about 18 months. Since she had registered as a refugee, Hyman was able to find her through the Central Refugee office in Buguruslan and sent a visa for her to come to Kompaniesk, just outside of Karaganda. Molly was also able to get a visa to Karaganda for her sister Chaja. They all lived there together for a year before Hyman was drafted again into the Red Army. They reunited in Ordzhonikidze after the war where their first child, Ann, was born in October 1946. They relocated to Łódź in 1947 and had a second daughter, Rachel, in 1949. In 1950, the family immigrated to Israel, where a son, Harry, was born. Employment proved difficult, and the family moved to Canada in 1952 and to the United States in 1956. With the exception of her sister, Chaja, Molly's entire family was murdered in the Holocaust. Molly Lader passed away on Jan. 19, 2010 in New Orleans, La.