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Stefania Hecht collection

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.181.1

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    Stefania Hecht collection

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    Collection consists of one typescript memoir, 16 pages, written circa 2015, describing the experiences of Stefania Hecht (nee Kohn), originally of Șomcuta Mare, Romania, during her childhood in Romania, the Hungarian occupation of Transylvania, the subsequent German occupation and deportation of Jews to Auschwitz, and her experiences at that camp, as well as her life following World War II. In addition, the collection contains selected photographs of the Kohn and Hecht families, the text of a speech given by her cousin, Mendel (Menachem) Abraham, at the dedication of a Jewish cemetery in Tiocu de Sus, Romania, in 2014, and a photograph of Mrs. Hecht at the graves of her parents, circa 2014.
    inclusive:  1944-2016
    undated:  circa 1920-1940
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Stefania Hecht
    Collection Creator
    Stefania Hecht
    Stefania Hecht was born on 15 February 1928 in Șomcuta Mare, Romania, the daughter of Naftali (Anton) and Perl Rivka Kohn. The Kohns had four other children in addition to Stefania, including Rachel, Iosif (1925-1945), Eugen(1932-1944), and Leah (or Leonida, 1932-1944). When Stefania was five years old, her mother died, and a few years later, her eldest sister, Rachel, died of a lung disease. Her father died in 1938, after suffering a stroke while he was trying to fight a fire in a neighbor's home. She was taken in by a succession of relatives, and in 1940, this portion of Romania was ceded to Hungary. After the Germans took control of Hungary in 1944, she was ordered to return to Șomcuta Mare, from which she, her elderly aunt, and her siblings were deported, first to a camp near Baia Mare, and then to Auschwitz, in May 1944. Her aunt and younger siblings were subsequently murdered, and she never saw her older brother Iosif again, who had been separated from them at Baia Mare, and presumably perished. Initially she was a forced laborer at Auschwitz, but was later transferred to an ammunition factory in the Sudetenland, where she worked until the end of the war. After liberation, she went to Prague, then Budapest, before returning to Satu Mare, where she stayed for a while and was treated in a nearby hospital, before returning to her home town, where she lived with a cousin and his wife until 1949. At that time, since she had no further surviving family, she decided to go to Israel, and went to an orphanage in another district in Romania, in order to make preparations to leave. It was there that she met her future husband, Zoltan (Mendel, 1922-1997) Hecht, both of whose own parents perished at Auschwitz. The two married in 1949, but rather than leaving for Israel, remained in Romania, where Mendel had a position with the government. In 1964 they were able to emigrate, leaving first for Italy, and although they planned to proceed from there to Israel, friends advised them to go to the United States instead. They settled in Brooklyn, New York, and had three children.

    Physical Details

    3 folders
    System of Arrangement
    Items are arranged in one series, alphabetic by folder title (document type).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Donor retains copyright to her unpublished memoir. Other material 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
    Șomcuta Mare (Romania)

    Administrative Notes

    Stefania Hecht donated the Stefania Hecht collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:29:50
    This page:

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