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Joseph Goetz papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2015.519.1

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    Joseph Goetz papers

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    The Joseph Goetz papers consists of post-war photographs, poems, tickets and receipts of Joseph Goetz, a Jewish refugee who escaped the Lida labor camp, Nowogródek Województwo, Poland, in 1942. The bulk of the photographs were taken in Italy, but there are also several from Föhrenwald displaced persons camp, Wolfratshausen, Germany, and the United States. The majority are photographs of Goetz and his friends, and some of them have inscriptions on the back. The poems are likely copied or memorized works of other authors. The tickets and receipts are primarily from entertainment in Italy.
    inclusive:  1945-circa 1950
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Susan Medwied
    Collection Creator
    Joseph Goetz
    Joseph Goetz (born Eli Gulst, 1923-2012) born in Nowogródek, Poland (now Navahrudak, Belarus) to Joshua and Zelda Gulst. He had one older sister Golda (b. 1918), and at least four younger siblings: Josef, Mendel, Ena, and Samuel. The family lived in a small Jewish farming community outside of Szczuczyn, and Joshua Gulst was the village’s tailor.

    When the war started on September 1, 1939, Nowogródek came under the Soviet Union’s control. On June 22, 1941, the German army invaded the Soviet controlled Poland. Joseph tried to escape to the Soviet Union, but was unable to and returned home. In October 1942, his family was sent to the Szczuczyn ghetto. In July 1942, Joseph was sent to the nearby Lida labor camp. There he worked on the railways at a nearby station, and woodworking with his cousin Yuda, who was also in the camp. While he was at Lida, Joseph saw his brothers Josef and Mendel on a train heading to Mołodeczno concentration camp, Poland. It is assumed that they both died there. In December 1942, Joseph, Yuda, and 14 other men escaped from the labor camp and made their way to Naliboki Forest. They joined other escapees and formed Jewish resistance groups. They fought the Germans through sabotage missions and ambushes. Joseph was wounded twice in operations, and his cousin Yuda was killed in an ambush by a group of Lithuanians. In September 1943, Joseph learned that the Lida labor camp and the nearby Szczuczyn Ghetto were liquidated, and that his parents and brother Samuel were sent to Sobibór concentration camp and killed. By the end of July 1944, Joseph had returned to Szczuczyn. For a year he worked with the KGB rounding up collaborators while also looking for his family or any survivors from his village. He never found anyone. After the end of the war, Joseph and his friends left the Soviet Union with forged papers. Joseph traveled under the name of his brother Josef, and decided to permanently keep the name. They briefly went to Föhrenwald displaced persons camp, Wolfratshausen, Germany. They then went to Italy with the goal of going to Palestine. The group boarded a ship in Genoa, Italy but were later turned around by British cruisers. Joseph spent three years in an Italian displaced persons camp before immigrating to the United States, sponsored by a woman from his village who had come to the United States before the war.

    Physical Details

    8 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Joseph Goetz papers are arranged alphabetically in one series. The photographs were received in two wallets, and that arrangement has been retained.

    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

    Administrative Notes

    The Joseph Goetz papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Susan Medwied in 2015.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:25:57
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