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Meir and Paula Stein diaries and photographs

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2008.300.2

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    Meir and Paula Stein diaries and photographs

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    The Meir and Paula Stein diaries and photographs consist of three diaries written by Meir Stein and five diaries written by Paula Stein while in hiding in Białystok, Poland describing their experiences from 1941-1944. Also included in the collection are photographs from the Białystok Central Committee and pictures of Meir and Israel, Meir and Paula’s son.

    Meir Stein wrote four diaries while in hiding in 1944, but the first diary was lost after the war. The diaries are written in German and describe his experiences in the Warsaw and Białystok ghettos and the time his family spent in hiding from 1943-1944. This series also includes transcripts of the diaries in German.

    Paula Stein began writing her diaries in 1944 while in hiding in Białystok, Poland. There are five diaries and four loose pages. The diaries are written in Polish and describe her family’s experiences from 1941- 1943 while they were in the Vilna and Białystok ghettos as well as her efforts to find hiding places for relative after they fled the Białystok ghetto. This series also includes transcripts of Paula’s diaries and typed testimonies recorded by Paula after the war from Jewish survivors in Poland.

    Photographs depict members of the Białystok Central Committee and pictures of Meir and Israel Stein in the 1940s.
    creation:  1943-1945
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Israel Stein
    Collection Creator
    Stein family
    Meir Stein (1909-1970) was born in Bielsko, Poland and married Paula (b. Pola Znamirowska in Prezdborz, Poland, 1909-1988). They had one son, Israel, born in 1934 in Warsaw, Poland. After the outbreak of the war in 1939, they fled from Warsaw to Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania) which was under Soviet rule. Meir attempted to obtain paperwork to immigrate to Palestine, but they were interned in the Vilna ghetto before the papers were approved. In 1941, the family fled to the Białystok ghetto where Paula worked as an operator for the Organisation Todt. Meir temporarily went to the Warsaw ghetto to look for other family members, but he returned after he witnessed the deteriorating conditions. While working as an operator, Paula became friends with a German soldier, Herbert Coehn, who agreed to help her family go into hiding. With the help of Stefania Dobrowolska, Meir, Paula, Israel, and Mata Klein, Israel’s aunt, went into hiding from 1943 until 1944. During this time, Meir and Paula began writing about their experiences. After the war, Meir, Paula, and Israel went to Belgium before immigrating to Israel in 1949.

    Physical Details

    Polish German
    Diaries. Photographs.
    1 box
    System of Arrangement
    The Meir and Paula Stein diaries and photographs are arranged as three series:
    Series 1: Meir’s diaries, 1943-1944 and undated
    Series 2: Paula’s diaries, 1943-1945 and undated
    Series 3: Photographs, 1940s.

    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

    Israel Stein, son of Meir and Paula Stein, donated the Meir and Paula Stein diaries and photographs to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2008. The accessions previously numbered 2008.300.1 and 2008.345.1 have been incorporated into this collection.
    Funding Note
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-04-11 09:47:43
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