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Asynchronous motor placed on a workbench used to conceal a Jewish family’s hiding place

Object | Accession Number: 1992.240.10

AEG electric motor placed on a workbench that concealed one of the hiding places Stefan Petri built in his home in Wawer, Poland. Stefan, his wife, Janina, and their son, Marian, were Polish Catholics. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and began subjugating the Polish people. Uncertain of what might occur, Stefan built a basement hiding place concealed by a cabinet. In mid-1942, the Germans deported 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka killing center. Stefan learned that his Jewish dentist and friend, Dr. Szapiro, his wife Ela, and their adult sons, Jerzy and Marek had escaped from the ghetto, where they had been since the fall of 1940. He felt obligated to save them and decided to hide them in his home, despite the great risk to his family. Neighbors grew suspicious and reported him to the Gestapo for hiding Jews. He was beaten and the home searched twice with dogs, but the hidden space was not discovered. Several people knew of its existence, so in early 1943, Stefan dug out a second space below it. It was accessed through a trap door under a workbench piled with machine parts and tools to make it inconspicuous. Jadwiga, a local shopkeeper, helped supply food for the hidden family. The Szapiros remained hidden for two years inside Stefan's home, until liberation by the Soviet Army on September 11, 1944.

use:  1943-1944 September 11
manufacture:  1889-1942
use: Wawer (Poland)
manufacture: Germany
Tools and Equipment
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jadwiga Petri
Record last modified: 2020-07-27 11:51:15
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