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Regina Gruber and Tuvia Sheres papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2016.204.1

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    Regina Gruber and Tuvia Sheres papers

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    The collection contains correspondence, identification papers, photographs, testimonies, and restitution claims documenting the experiences of Regina Gruber and Tuvia Sheres in Poland, Lithuania, and Italy during the Holocaust, and their post-war experiences in Italy prior to immigrating to Canada. Included are papers regarding their time as displaced persons in Bari, Italy; and their work with the Joint Distribution Committee; their immigration to Canada; testimonies; and restitution claims. The restitution papers also reflect Regina's attempts to reclaim funds from a Swiss bank that her father had deposited before the war.
    inclusive:  1936-1998
    bulk:  1943-1968
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Sheres and Gruber families Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection in 2016 by the entire Sheres family whose collective effort in preserving these artifacts over the years has ensured that Ted (Tuvia) and Dina (Regina)'s story of survival will be passed down from generation to generation. L'Dor Vador.
    Collection Creator
    Tuvia Sheres
    Regina Dina Sheres
    Teodor Scheres (Tuvia Sheres) was born on February 6, 1920, in Vilna (Vilnius), Lithuania), to Jewish parents Efraim and Peshe (Pesia) Liliansky Szeres. His mother Peshe was born in 1900 to Tajba and Wolf Lilinasky (Lilianska), also in Vilna, when it was part of the Russian Empire. The city was annexed by Poland in February 1922. Tuvia had a brother Harry. In September 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland. Soviet forces occupied Vilna on September 19. The Soviets ceded the city to independent Lithuania in October. There was a huge influx of Jewish refugees from German and Soviet occupied territory and Vilna was a major Jewish center. The Soviets took back control of the city in June 1940, closing all community and religious organizations.

    In June 1941, Germany launched an invasion of the Soviet Union. Germans forces occupied Vilna on June 24. There were widespread attacks on Jews by pro-German, anti-Jewish Lithuanians, killing hundreds. In July, German mobile killing units, known as Einsatzgruppe, with Lithuanian auxiliaries, began mass executions of Vilna Jews in the Ponary forest; thousands of Jews were massacred. Jews were drafted for forced labor, and had to wear yellow badges and later, a white armband with a yellow Star of David and a J for Jew. Tuvia and his family, and the other Jewish residents, were forced to move into a ghetto. Tuvia was assigned to work as a mechanical engineer at the HKP slave labor camp in the ghetto. Tuvia’s mother was killed circa 1942, possibly shot by the Gestapo or after being deported to a labor camp in Estonia. In 1943, Tuvia faked his own death in order to escape the ghetto. He joined a group of Russian partisans in the Naroch (Narocz) forest, who ran rescue missions to the ghetto to help potential fighters escape. The ghetto was liquidated on September 23, 1943. The majority of the Russian partisans were not Jewish and anti-Semitism was often an issue. He knew the artist Alexander Bogen, who was with the all-Jewish unit called Nekhamah (Revenge). Tuvia was in the Voroshilova Brigade with Markoya. He was in the Chapaev Unit and proved himself a skilled fighter in guerilla raids against German troops. He became known as Tevko the Tiger and the Germans offered rewards for his capture, dead or alive. Tuvia fought with the partisans until July 1944, when the region was liberated by Soviet forces.

    Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. By 1946, Tuvia had made his way to Milan, Italy. He worked with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee helping fellow survivors living in displaced persons camp. He also ran a factory, which served as a cover for gathering people for Bricha, an organization that helped survivors emigrate illegally to Palestine. During this time, Tuvia met Regina (Dina) Gruber, who lived in Bari DP camp. Dina was born on April 17, 1924, in Lwow, Poland (now L’viv, Ukraine) and had survived the war by living in hiding under an assumed identity. She lost her entre family to the Holocaust. Dina began assisting Tuvia in his Bricha activities and aid work. Tuvia and Dina married in Italy. They left for Canada in 1949. Tuvia went by the name Ted. The couple settled in Montreal and had three children. Ted (Tuvia), 92, passed away in Montreal in 2002.
    Regina Dina Sheres (born Regina Gruber, b. 1924) was born in Lwów, Poland (now L’viv, Ukraine) to Amalia (1891-1942) and Aron (1888-1943) Gruber. She had one sister, Klara (1922-1944), and one brother, Emanuel (1926-1943). Her father had previously bought a birth certificate from a neighbor named Irena Nivaleska, and using this birth certificate Regina got a false identification card under this name, which enabled her to survive the war. During the war, she worked as a maid in Kraków and Warsaw. Regina was the only survivor from her immediate family. After the war, she briefly went to Austria, and then to the Bari displaced persons camp in Italy. It was in the camp where she met Tuvia Sheres. They married in 1949 and immigrated to Montreal, Canada that same year.

    Physical Details

    German Polish English
    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged alphabetically as one series.

    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

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Sheres family. Allan and Robert are the son and grandson of Regina and Tuvia Sheres.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:26:07
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