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Margot Schlesinger papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2013.224.1

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    Margot Schlesinger papers

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    The collection includes documents, correspondence, and photographs related to Margot and Chaskiel Schlesinger, who were married in the Tarnow ghetto and survived together on Schindler's list. Includes correspondence between Margot and various members of her family, 1939-1946; a letter from the State Department sent to Edward Wind, of Chicago, dated 1940, regarding his efforts to assist with immigration of relatives from Europe; and photographs of the family in Europe and arriving in Chicago.
    inclusive:  1939-1946
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Margot Wind Schlesinger
    Collection Creator
    Margot Schlesinger
    Margot Wind was born July 24, 1919 in Berlin, Germany to Yakov and Sabina Wind. She had four brothers: Eduard (b. 1909), Heinrich “Hy” (b. 1910), Julius, Willie, and one sister, Rosa. Yakov and Sabina were originally from Poland and immigrated to Germany in 1911. The family was religiously observant, and Sabina put an emphasis on her children’s education. Margot attended school through eighth grade, but was unable to continue her education due to increasing restrictions on Jews, so she found a job with a Jewish owned company that manufactured clothing. In 1936, Willie immigrated to Palestine. When the Germans began arresting Jewish men holding Polish passports, Margot’s brothers went into hiding until the arrests were over. However the next day the police returned and arrested Yakov. He was held for 8 days before being released. Rosa, who was living elsewhere, was also arrested and released. She and her family were able to successfully obtain visas and left for Palestine. After these two incidents, the Wind family realized it was time for them to leave Germany. Eduard and Julius received visas to go to the United States and left in 1939 and Hy left for Shanghai in late August 1939. Margot received a visa to go to England to study, but turned it down in order to stay with their parents who had returned to Poland, since she was the only child still at home.

    Margot and her parents returned to their hometown of Tarnow, Poland. Soon after moving to Tarnow, Margot met Chaskiel Schlesinger who was friends with another young man that Margot was interested in. The two became good friends. In June 1942, all citizens were asked to register and deportations began from the ghetto. Margot left the apartment to go hide family valuables at a friend’s home outside the ghetto. When Margot returned the next day, the apartment was sealed and her parents were gone. Having nowhere else to turn, Margot went to stay with Chaskiel and his mother. Chaskiel acquired a fake marriage license for him and Margot that would hopefully provide her with some protection since she did not have the proper identification papers. When the Gestapo came to the apartment and asked for Margot’s papers, the marriage license did not work. Chaskiel also acquired false work papers that identified him as a locksmith. After the Germans were shown these, they left without taking Margot. On July 24, 1942, the couple was officially married in secret by a rabbi. The couple moved back into Margot’s old apartment which was now officially part of the ghetto. Chaskiel was asked to help establish Julisu Madritsch’s new factory in Tarnow which would make uniforms and clothing. Chaskiel took the job and along with Margot, and his brothers Chaim and Moishe, they worked there from July 1942 – September 1943.

    The family survived multiple deportations and selections. When the ghetto was liquidated on September 2, 1943, Margot, Chaskiel and Moishe were sent with the other Madritsch factory workers to his new factory at the Płaszów concentration camp in Krakow. Moishe’s wife, Sheva, and their three children, Henik, Itzhak and Ren, were deported to Auschwitz and killed upon arrival. Margot and Chaskiel were in Płaszów until October 1944. When Płaszów was shut down and Oskar Schindler moved his factory to Brünnlitz. Raimund Titsch, Madritsch’s manager, placed 60 of his workers on Schindler’s list. Margot told Titsch that her husband and brother-in-law were with her, and they were added to the list as well. The men and women were loaded on to separate railcars for the trip to Brünnlitz, and while the men were sent to Czechoslovakia, the women were mistakenly transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The women were there for three weeks before being transferred to Brünnlitz and being reunited with the other Schindler workers. In May 1945, they were liberated by a Russian soldier.

    Immediately after their liberation, Margot, Chaskiel and Moshe briefly stayed with a local German woman before returning to Tarnow. Chaskiel and his brother were able to successfully recover valuables that they had hidden before the war. After staying there for a brief time, the couple moved to Krakow to try and obtain visas to the United States. When that was unsuccessful, they moved to France where their three daughters: Aline (b. 1947), Sabine (b. 1949) and Regine (b. 1951) were born. The family immigrated to the United States aboard the MV Georgic arriving in New York on August 15, 1953.

    Physical Details

    German English Polish
    1 folder

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    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

    Margot Schlesinger donated the Margot Schlesinger papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:40:55
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