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The Narrow Bridge

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2015.377.1

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    Consists of one typed memoir, 631 pages, entitled "The Narrow Bridge: Remembrance of a Jewish Childhood during the Second World War," written in 2014 by Dr. Zwi Barnea (born Herbert Zwi Chameides), originally of Katowice, Poland. In the memoir, Dr. Barnea describes going into hiding under the direction of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky and the Metropolitan's brother, Klement Sheptytsky, head of the Studite monastic order. He reflects on his childhood before the war; the family's move to Shchyrets' in 1939; life under the Soviet occupation; learning of the aktions, particularly in Lviv and Stryy; being separated from his parents and going into hiding; reuniting with his brother in hiding; life in the Studite orphanage; moving to live with Father Marko Stek's mother in the small town of Panivtsi; being sent to a boarding school in Lviv; learning that his father had died and mother disappeared; the Russian liberation of Lviv; living with the Trost family, who spent the war in hiding; reuniting with his brother Leon and returning to Poland; and immigrating to Great Britain to join relatives. Also includes copies of photographs, an essay on the Sheptytsky brothers, information about Shchyrets', and an extensive bibliography and notes.
    Remembrance of a Jewish Childhood during the Second World War
    publication/distribution:  2014
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Dr. Zwi Barnea
    Collection Creator
    Zwi Barnea
    Dr. Zwi Barnea was born Herbert Zwi Chameides on September 16, 1932 in Katowice, Poland, to Rabbi Kalman and Trude (née Koenigshoefer) Chameides. He has a younger brother Dr. Leon Chameides (b. June 23, 1935). Trude’s parents and siblings left their home in Germany in 1937, moving first to Czechoslovakia and then, with some exceptions, ending up in Great Britain. In late 1938, Rabbi Chameides traveled to England to petition for visas for homeless German refugees; while there he declined an offer to become the Chief Rabbi of Ireland, and returned to Poland. In September 1939 the family left Katowice for Shchyrets’ (Szczerzec, now Ukraine) to be closer to Rabbi Chameides’ extended family. In 1942, Rabbi Chameides joined a group of forced laborers traveling from Lviv (Lwów) to the work camp in Dornfeld and returned from there to Shchyrets’ to inform his family of the ‘aktions’ in Lviv and to place his sons in hiding with the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky (Polish: Szeptycki) of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and the Metropolitan’s brother, Klement Sheptytsky, the head of the Studite Order. Zwi became ‘Yosyf Chaminsky,’ a young Ukrainian boy from Belarus who had supposedly lost his father while in Lviv and had been taken in by the Studites. After some training in Ukrainian and in elementary Christian religious practice, Zwi was placed in an orphanage operated by a Ukrainian women’s welfare organization in Bryukhovychi (Brzuchowice) near Lviv. There he reunited with his brother Leon, who had also been placed in hiding under the name of ‘Levko Chaminsky.’ In January 1943, Father Marko Stek, a Studite priest, took Zwi to live with his mother and brother, the parish priest of the large village of Panivtsi (Paniowce), where he assisted with farm work. Later, Father Stek placed Zwi in a boarding school in Lviv, where he continued his education in Christianity and was baptized. While in hiding, Zwi encountered a number of other hidden Jewish children. After Lviv was re-occupied by the Red Army in July 1944, ‘Roman Mytka’ (Kurt I. Lewin), a son of Rabbi Dr. J. Lewin, informed Zwi that his father had died of typhus and that his mother had disappeared. In August 1944 Zwi was returned
    to Rabbi Dr. David Kahane, a friend of his father, who had survived in hiding with the Studites. Here Zwi resumed his Hebrew studies and was taken in by the a family (named as the "Trosts" in Barnea's memoir, though this is not their real surname) who had survived by hiding with Poles. After reuniting with Leon, Zwi returned to Poland with the "Trosts", with Leon and Leon’s adoptive mother (Tola Wasserman) joining them several months later. In the summer of 1945, Zwi received a letter from his maternal grandparents, promising to help them immigrate to England. In December 1945, the brothers (accompanied by ‘Mother Tola’) left Poland and reunited with their relatives in England.
    Please also see Dr. Leon Chameides' books, "On the Edge of the Abyss," (2013) and "Strangers in Many Lands" (2012), both located in the USHMM Library.

    Physical Details

    1 folder

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    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

    Dr. Zwi Barnea donated his memoir to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:33:36
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