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Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2004.706.9

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    Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families papers
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    Overview

    Description
    The Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families papers comprise documents and photographs concerning Zbigniew Kelhoffer, his wife, Sydonia Pomeranz and their families in Borysław, Poland during the Holocaust. The collection contains identification cards, correspondence, pre and post-war photographs of both families, and a series of diaries written by Zbyszek during his imprisonment in the Borysław ghetto in 1942 and sent to his wife in hiding.

    Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families papers contain documents and photographs concerning the Kellhoffers’ and Pomeranz’ experiences in the years immediately before World War II, during, and after. The collection is arranged by family and family member thereunder. Materials documenting the Kellhoffer family include diaries written by Zbyszek during his imprisonment in the Borysław ghetto and sent to his wife Sydzia, who was in hiding at that time in 1942. The entries are addressed to her and discuss his situation as a forced laborer in the ghetto, his mood, and relays news regarding her family. Also included are several of Zbyszek’s identification cards, a couple of which were issued by the Germans during the war, and photographs depicting Zbyszek before and after the war. Materials pertaining to Zbyszek’s uncle, Oskar are also comprised here within, as is a photograph of his mother, Helena and a letter from her written on the occasion of his wedding day in 1940. Materials pertaining to the Pomeranz family include identification cards for and photographs of Sydzia and her sisters, Roza and Julia. A class register from Charles University in Prague, an employment history book belonging to Sydzia and her marriage certificate is also comprised in this collection. Among the material regarding Julia is a series of correspondence regarding the custody of a child in 1950.
    Date
    inclusive:  1916-1960
    bulk:  1940-1950
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Barbara Kelhoffer Bieganiec
    Collection Creator
    Zbyszek Kelhoffer
    Pomeranz family
    Biography
    Zbigniew (Zbyszek) Kelhoffer was born on June 13, 1913, in Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine), to Norbert and Helena Teibels Kelhoffer. His brother, Mieczyslaw (Mitiek), was born in 1920. Norbert was a lawyer. Norbert’s father, Maurycy, had been a surgeon in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Zbyszek studied at the Lvov Polytechnic. In June 1939, the family briefly moved to Vienna, Austria, for Norbert’s job as an attorney for the Matapolska Oil Company. But Helena insisted they return to Boryslaw where Norbert opened a law office. When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Zbyszek was mobilized into the Strzelce Podhalanscy, a Polish Army infantry unit. After a brief campaign, he returned to Russian occupied Boryslaw and worked as a clerk at an oil company. On June 22, 1940, he married Sydonia (Sydzia) Pomeranz, whom he had known since high school. Sydzia was born on July 31, 1912, to Bernard and Helena Laudis Pomeranz, born November 25, 1889. Sydzia had two sisters, Julia, born 1908, and Roza, (1916-1973). Sydzia’s family was prosperous; her mother was a civil servant. Sydzia attended pharmacy school in Prague, then studied piano in Vienna. Zbyszek moved in with the Pomeranz family.

    In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and Zbyszek was drafted into the Soviet Army. He was captured by the Germans, but escaped and returned home. Upon his return, he constructed a hiding space between the family home and the neighbor’s house. On July 1, German troops occupied Boryslaw. The next day, several hundred Jews were murdered in a Ukrainian organized pogrom. This was followed by several joint German SS and Ukrainian attacks to eliminate the Jewish population. In March 1942, the Germans opened Belzec killing center and by summer roughly 5000 Jews had been deported there. In August, the Germans established Beskiden labor camp for workers of the Beskiden Oil Company. Zbyszek worked in the camp and was issued a lapel badge and an armband that allowed him to travel to work. Workers were thought to be protected against deportation. Sydzia went into hiding with her mother in another location, as did Zbyszek’s mother. His father Norbert lived with Zbyszek, along with the two sisters-in-law. The mass deportations continued and several thousand more Jews were deported that fall. By October 13, all Jews were confined to the ghetto and only those with work passes are permitted to leave. There were frequent round-ups during which many were shot. From November to December 1942, Zbyszek wrote daily love letters to Sydzia, mixed with tales of how difficult her sisters were to live with. A woman named Inka sold the family’s belongings for them. There were actions by Jewish policeman who would raid houses, steal what they found, and arrest the inhabitants. Zbyszek’s overseer Skorzyk, a Jewish Council member, did his best to keep his workers protected from deportation, but over 100 were deported. He listed Zbyszek as an electrician, as skilled workers were less likely to be selected. Zbyszek was put on a list to live in the City Council barracks, but then learned that Eduard Goldman, the liaison between the German police and the Jewish Council, had removed his name because he was not a qualified craftsman. Zbyszek’s mother had to leave her cellar hiding place and moved into their building. On December 2, Skorzyk announced that all workers must move into barracks at Beskiden camp in a week. On December 4, Norbert received a postcard from Mitiek telling them he was in a prisoner of war camp and needed food. Zbyszek writes to Sydzia that he is convinced that he will not be able to save his parents. Their apartment is raided again and his father robbed of everything, even his underwear. His father writes a goodbye note in Zbyszek’s letter to Sydzia, giving them his blessing and wishing them a happy, loving life. The only people still living in a hiding place in the basement are a couple, the Birnbaums, and Zbyszek’s mother; the rest have fled or been ordered to the camp barracks. The next day, December 9, Zbyszek, working at the labor camp as deputy to the building site supervisor, learns that the barracks have no water or food. He continued to return to the ghetto at night. The city is a target of bombing raids because of the oilworks.

    By February 1943, Jews were no longer allowed to leave the ghetto, even for work. Zbyszek moved to the slave labor camp. SS and Ukrainian police searched the ghetto door to door. Helena and Norbert, with about 600 Jews, were herded into a slaughterhouse and murdered. Sydzia’s sisters, Julia and Roza, had moved to the hiding space previously constructed by Zbyszek at their old home and live there with six other Jews. Sydzia joined her family in hiding in June. Two people allied with the Polish Home Army lived on the ground floor, Karolina Kubrynowa and Jozef, and brought them food. Her sisters did not want Zbyszek to go into hiding with them, as they feared it would increase the probability of discovery. By the end of summer, Boryslaw was emptied of Jews except for the slave laborers at the factory camp. In December, Zbyszek decided to join Sydzia in hiding. When he arrived, his mother-in-law complained about the burden of having another mouth to feed. The factory camp was emptied and destroyed in April-July 1944.

    On August 8, 1944, the Soviet Army liberated Boryslaw. Zbyszek, Sydzia, her mother, and sisters were among only 200 Jews from a population of 12,000 to survive. The war ended in Europe on May 8, 1945. Boryslaw became part of the Soviet Union and they moved to Poland. Mietek, Zbyszek’s brother, survived the war and emigrated to the US. Zbyszek and Sydzia settled in Gliwice and a daughter was born on March 17, 1947. Helena, Roza, and Julia emigrated to Israel in 1957. Zbyszek, Sydzia, with their daughter emigrated to Israel in 1968. Sydzia, 74, died in November 1986. Zbyszek, 75, died in 1988.
    The Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families consist of Zbigniew Kelhoffer, his wife, Sydonia Pomeranz, Sydonia’s sisters, Roza and Julia, and their mother, Helena Pomeranz. Zbigniew (Zbyszek) Kelhoffer (1913-1988) was born to Norbert and Helena Teibels Kelhoffer in Borysław, Poland (now Boryslav, Ukraine), where his father worked as an attorney. As a children, Zbyszek and his brother Mieczyslaw (Mitiek, 1920-) studied at Lwow Polytechnic until 1939 when Zbyszek was mobilized into the Strzelce Podhalańscy, a Polish Army infantry unit. After a brief campaign, he returned to Russian occupied Borysław and worked as a clerk at an oil company. On June 22, 1940, he married Sydonia (Sydzia) Pomeranz (1912-1986), whom he had known since high school. Sydzia, also from Borysław, was born to Bernard and Helena Laudis Pomeranz and raised in a prosperous household. She studied pharmaceutical science in Prague and then studied piano in Vienna before returning to Borysław to live with her husband and parents. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and Zbyszek was drafted into the Soviet Army. He was briefly held as a prisoner of war, but escaped and returned to Borysław ghetto, where he went into hiding in a space he constructed between his family home and a neighbor’s house. In August 1942, Sydzia went into hiding with her mother and Zbyszek was forced to work in the Beskiden labor camp for the Bedskiden Oil Company. He worked at the oil company and lived until 1942 or 1943. Around this same time, Sydzia moved into the hiding place that Zbyszek had originally built by their home. She was joined there by her sisters, Julia and Roza, her mother, and later, Zbyszek went into hiding with them. The family was supplied with food by neighbors who were part of the Polish underground (Armia Krajowa). On August 8, 1944, the Soviet Army liberated Borysław. Zbyszek, Sydzia, her mother, and sisters were among only 200 Jews from a population of 12,000 to survive. Zbyszek’s parents had been killed. After the war, Zbyszek and Sydzia settled in Gliwice, Poland and in 1947, had a daughter, Barbara. The family immigrated to Israel in 1968, where Zbyszek and Sydzia remained until their deaths.

    Physical Details

    Extent
    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families papers are arranged as three series:
    • Series 1: Kelhoffer family, 1917-1950
    • Series 2: Pomeranz family, 1931-1950 and undated
    • Series 3: Various, 1916-1960 and undated

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of these material(s). The Museum does not own the copyright for the material and does not have authority to authorize use. For permission, please contact the rights holder(s).

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The Kelhoffer and Pomeranz families papers were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by the Zbyszek and Sydonia Pomeranz Kellhoffer’s daughter, Barbara Kelhoffer Bieganiec through two separation donations in 2004 and 2009. These two donations have since been unified into this collection.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Primary Number
    2004.706.9
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:18:51
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn535165

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