- Brief Narrative
- Ellen Kaidanow had the spoon with her in hiding.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ellen Kaidanow
Ellen Kaidanow (born Shifra Lewiatin, sometimes referred to as Alexandra in postwar documents) was born on 15 June 1936 in Dubno, Poland (now Dubno, Ukraine) to Joseph and Esther (née Greenzweig) Lewiatin. She had two sisters, Pearl and Bella. Joseph and Esther ran a kiosk that sold candy, and they had a Christian nanny, Lena Dudzinski, who helped care for their daughters.
After the German occupation of Poland, the Lewiatin family were sent to the Dubno ghetto. They lived with other relatives, including a grandmother and Joseph’s brother Rubin (1911-1984), his wife Jenia (1914-2000), and their son Victor (b. 1939). Rubin and his family fled to Siberia and survived the war. Ellen’s parents and sisters all perished at the Dubno ghetto.
Around the time of the liquidation of the ghetto, Ellen escaped with her nanny Lena with whom the family remained in contact. They visited of one of the Lewiatins former neighbors in Dubno whom they had entrusted some of their posessions with prior to being sent to the ghetto. The neighbor returned one item, a spoon, and threatened to turn them in if they did not leave. Lena and Ellen then went to live with her sister Anya in Radziwiłłów, Poland (now Radyvyliv, Ukraine). Lena passed Ellen off as her daughter under the false name of Marusia Dudzinski for the duration of the war.
After the war, Rubin discovered that Ellen had survived, and he brought her to Siberia to join his family. They then returned to Poland and then went to the Bad Reichenhall displaced persons camp. In 1948, Ellen, posing as her cousin Victor’s sister, and Victor were sent to an orphanage in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany. They immigrated with other orphans to the United States via the USS General W.M. Black on 10 October 1948.
Ellen and Victor were supposed to live with one of Jenia’s sisters, but she died prior to their arrival in the United States. They lived with her husband until Rubin and Jenia were able to immigrate to the United States eight months later. The family settled in New York. Ellen later married Jerry Kaidanow.
- Object Type
- Physical Description
- Spoon has an oval shaped bowl that is attached to handle with a circular design with floral motif embosed at top.
- overall: Height: 7.250 inches (18.415 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm)
- overall : metal
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The spoon was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017 by Ellen Kaidanow.
- Record last modified:
- 2022-07-28 21:51:24
- This page:
Also in Ellen Kaidanow collection
Documents, photographs, and letter, related to Ellen Kaidanow (born Shifra Leviatin) and her family, and their experiences in the Dubno ghetto, in Poland, during the German occupation in World War II. In addition to documents, the collection includes a spoon.
The collection documents the Holocaust experiences of Ellen Kaidanow (born Shifra Lewiatin) and her family from Dubno, Poland (present day Dubno, Ukraine). Photographs include pre-war depictions of the Lewiatin family; post war images of Ellen with her paternal uncle’s family in Germany, including in the Bad Reichenall displaced persons camp; and a photograph of Ellen with her Christian nanny, Lena Dudzinski, who sheltered her during the German occupation. Documents include Ellen’s report card from a school in the Bad Reichenhall DP camp; a 1991 letter from Lena's niece, Vera Karpin, written in Russian with a translation by the donor; and copies of documents about Ellen and her family from the International Tracing Service.