- Interview Summary
- Halina Lasch (née Nadel; professional name: Nadi), born on April 13, 1924 in Kraków, Poland, discusses her childhood in Kraków; being part of an assimilated Jewish family; her sisters who were musical; her father who owned a shop of antiquities; attending a public school and having very good relations with their non-Jewish neighbors; being sent to the ghetto in Kraków with her mother and some of her sisters while her father was able to stay outside the ghetto; being sent with her sister Dorota to Płaszów concentration camp; escaping from the camp; her sister refusing to join her; being hidden by her Polish neighbors who helped her buy a false identity (Halina Krenzel); living in Warsaw during the war with her aunt and father; having different jobs such as working in a restaurant and selling alcohol; returning to Kraków after the war to study under her opera teacher Ada Sari; being a professional opera singer in Germany while hiding her Jewish identity and having terrible nightmares and intromissions of trauma before she was able to immigrate to the United States; working on the radio with Wladyslaw Szpilman; living in New York City and continuing her career performing at different venues such as Carnegie Hall; moving to Tel Aviv, Israel and immigrating to Mexico when she decided to marry her husband Ignacio Lach; the difficulties and opportunities she encountered in Mexico in the early 1970s; her recent incorporation into the Union of Holocaust survivors in Mexico; and the fate of several of her loved ones.
- Halina Lasch
- Dr. Yael Siman
2017 January 23
Mexico City (Mexico)
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Yael Siman on behalf of Nenemi Paxia - Sinergias Educativas A.C.
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Keywords & Subjects
- Topical Term
- Concentration camp escapes. Holocaust survivors--Mexico. Holocaust survivors--United States. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Personal narratives. Identification cards--Forgeries--Poland. Jewish ghettos--Poland--Kraków. Jewish women in the Holocaust. Jews--Persecutions--Poland. Jews--Poland--Kraków. Opera. Women concentration camp inmates. Women in radio broadcasting. Women singers. Women--Personal narratives.
- Geographic Name
- Kraków (Poland) Mexico--Emigration and immigration. New York (N.Y.) Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945. Tel Aviv (Israel) United States--Emigration and immigration.
- Corporate Name
- Plaszow (Concentration camp)
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- Dr. Yael Siman donated the oral history interviews of the Voces del Holocausto en México collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum beginning in July 2017. Dr. Siman produced the interviews for an educational resource at her civic association in México, Nenemi Paxia - Sinergias Educativas A.C.
- Funding Note
- The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
- Special Collection
The Jeff and Toby Herr Oral History Archive
- Record last modified:
- 2023-11-16 09:41:15
- This page:
Also in Oral testimonies of the Voces del Holocausto en México collection
Oral history interviews with Holocaust survivors who settled in México
Perla (Pola in Polish) Ruzansky Jinich, born October 13, 1923 in Bialystok, Poland, discusses immigrating to Mexico with her family in 1928; her father and oldest sister arriving in Mexico one year earlier with the idea of soon moving to the United States; how at the time it was very risky for Jewish women to travel alone; not having memories of Bialystok; the social antisemitism present in Mexico in the 1930s; life in Mexico for new immigrants, including their occupations, housing, cultural activities, synagogue attendance, and social relations with other Jews and non-Jews; the gradual social mobility of Jews in Mexico and the possibilities for integration; her volunteer work in the Jewish organization Naamat; her husband, who lost most of his family in the Holocaust; the arrival of news about events in Europe through the American and Yiddish press; the limited possibilities for migration to Mexico for Jewish refugees escaping Nazism; and how difficult it was for Jewish survivors who did not want to speak, or were not believed by veteran local Jews when they tried to tell their Holocaust experiences.
Bronislaw Zajbert, born April 18, 1933 in Łódź, Poland, describes his childhood in Łódź; being part of a secular Jewish middle-class family; speaking only Polish at home; his father, who worked in a textile factory while his mother had a store of baby clothing; the good relations with non-Jewish neighbors and having no memories of antisemitism until the invasion of Łódź by the Germans; being sent to the Łódź ghetto in 1940 with his parents and younger brother (a baby at that time); working in a factory and surviving with his family in the ghetto until Łódź was liberated in 1945; conditions in the ghetto and the sacrifices his father made to save them; living in Łódź for a few years until they were able to immigrate to Caracas, Venezuela; studying in Venezuela and moving to the United States to attend college; returning to Venezuela for several years; meeting his wife; and resettling in Mexico City in 1960.
Luis (Erwin) Stillmann, born on December 31, 1921 in Budapest, Hungary, discusses growing up in Mád, Hungary, where his family had resided for 300 years; his father’s work in the wine business representing a company in Europe; his family’s Jewish religious life as well as the daily co-existence between Jews and Christians; his father losing his job; moving with his parents to Kiskunfélegyháza where they found an orthodox Jewish community that assisted other Jews in need; facing pervasive antisemitism and anti-Jewish laws in Hungary when he tried to enter university; receiving help from a university dean, Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi, and attending the university in Szeged; avoiding military conscription because he was a student; moving home when the Germans entered Budapest; living in the ghetto for several weeks before being sent to a Jewish battalion; returning to Budapest after spending some time in a military hospital; being sent to the Hungarian-Austrian border to dig trenches for the German army; being sent to Mauthausen and Günskirchen; getting a Portuguese passport with the help of his aunt in Budapest and how it saved his life; being very weak when the war ended and feeling free but also indifferent; staying in Wels, Austria, where he received food and medical assistance from the American army and worked as translator; returning to Budapest and Kiskunfélegyháza looking for his family members and finding out that his parents had perished; deciding to leave Hungary because he did not want to live under Communism; working as an interpreter at the DP camp in Ebensee and with UNRRA in Ansbach, Germany; moving to Paris, France and receiving help from HIAS while waiting for a visa to the United States; going to Mexico in 1947 on a tourist visa and having a difficult time changing his status to immigrant; identifying with the Hungarian-German community in the town where he met his wife, also a Holocaust survivor; and visiting Mád in 1990 and a few years later with his daughters and grandchildren.
Arthur Werner Weischel, born on June 24, 1926 in Rimbach, Germany, discusses the high inflation in Germany following World War I; the social dynamics of Rimbach, which had few Jewish families; his childhood; his family and having a traditional Jewish life; his father's occupation in the milk business; having good relations with non-Jewish neighbors; the Nazi's rise to power and the changes in his family life; obtaining a visa to Mexico from the Mexican consulate in Frankfurt and boarding the ship Orinoco from Hamburg to the port of Veracruz in Mexico and making several stops along the way; his father having a migratory status that allowed him to work in Mexico, while the rest of the family members came as tourists; acquiring Mexican citizenship many years after moving to Mexico; living in Orizaba; the restrictions associated with their migratory status; moving to Tlanepantla where they continued in the milk business; feeling German in Mexico and speaking German with his parents; and participating in the group Menorah, which was formed by German Jews who later united with Hungarian Jews-Emunah, thus differentiating themselves from Polish Jews who spoke Yiddish.
Miriam Weisz Stillmann (nickname “Buba”), born March 8, 1926 in Gherla, Romania, describes her family and childhood; moving with her family when she was three years old to Cluj, Romania; her four siblings; speaking Hungarian at home; the German invasion of Poland; the Jews being required to wear the Jewish star; two soldiers taking her family from home; spending five days in a train; arriving at Auschwitz in May 1944 and having her head shaved; wearing a uniform; receiving a tattooed number on her arm; life at the camp; becoming friends with others in barracks; never learning the fate of her parents; cutting and carrying wood for labor; learning German and being given cigars for translating to German; her encounter with Dr. Mengele; walking from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen; being sent to Unterluss; working in a porcelain factory; being liberated by the English; the physical condition upon libration; being taken care of by the English along with her sister, Itzu; taking a boat from Switzerland with missionaries to Veracruz; meeting their sister Bella when they arrived at Veracruz; living with her sister for two years; attending Beth Itzhak Synagogue in Mexico City; her two daughters; and her reflections on her experiences during the Holocaust.