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Pola Spitzer collection

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2014.403.1

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    Consists of copyprints of photographs, copies of postwar and wartime correspondence, original and copies of wartime personal documents, and typed family histories, related to the Holocaust experiences of Pessa Fogelman (Pessia Fogielman, Pessy Fogielman, now Pola Spitzer). In 1943, Pola was secretly taken by Natalia Pisula, a Polish Catholic woman, from the ghetto in Radomsko. Pola later received false papers under the name "Pelagia Pisula" and was sent to Germany as a forced laborer at a munitions factory in Güstrow. Includes her false papers, essays written about Pola Spitzer's experiences, her own testimony, and documents related to Natalia Pisula being designated "Righteous Among the Nations."
    inclusive:  1940-2005
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Pola Spitzer
    Collection Creator
    Pola Spitzer
    Pola Spitzer (born Pola Fogelman) was born on November 4, 1929, in Radomsko, Poland, to Hersh Fogelman and Sara Borzykowski. Her father worked as a master tailor and owned a large workshop. A sister, Genia (later Jean Bardach), was born September 27, 1927, and a brother, Abraham Joseph, was born in 1932. When Germans invaded Poland in September of 1939, the Fogelmans were sent to the Radomsko ghetto, where they lived in deplorable conditions in a one-room apartment with ten occupants. Pola continued school in the ghetto. In 1942, the Germans rounded up Sara and the three children to take them to the deportation site, but were released after Hersh bribed one of the Germans they were released. They then returned to the ghetto and hid in an attic. However during a subsequent round-up in October 1942, Pola's mother, Sara, was captured and deported to Treblinka. A Polish-Catholic woman named Natalia Pisula came into the ghetto and smuggled out a fifteen-year-old girl named Halina, a close friend of Genia's. Halina convinced Natalia to return two more times, to rescue first Genia, and then Pola. The girls lived with Natalia in her small apartment in Czestochowa until living in the city became too dangerous. In the winter of 1943, Natalia's father brought Pola to their farmhouse in Borowe, a small village annexed into Germany. After soldiers arrived at the farmhouse to interrogate the family, a plan was devised to send Halina, Genia, and Pola to Germany to work as volunteer laborers. Natalia obtained false papers for the girls. Genia left first and found work at an inn, and then her employers sent for Pola to work there as well. Pola later left the inn and worked as a maid for a couple with five children. In the fall of 1944, Pola and Genia were sent as Polish Catholics to a munitions factory attached to the Primerwald labor camp. The sisters lived in barracks with other Polish and Russian girls, living and working together in harsh conditions until their liberation by the Soviet Army on May 2, 1945. After the war, Pola and Genia returned to their hometown and learned of their family's fate; Hersh died of typhoid in the Skarzysko-Kamienna concentration camp. Sara was killed in Treblinka. Abraham Joseph, their brother, was shot in the Radomsko ghetto during a deportation round-up. Pola and Genia went to the Landsberg displaced persons camp, where they contacted their father's sister in America. She sponsored their immigration to the United States in 1946. Pola ultimately attended business school and worked as a bookkeeper. She met Alexander Spitzer, a survivor from Transcarpathia who had survived in Russia. They married on February 11, 1951, and moved to Los Angeles, California. They have two daughters, Linda Abraham and Sandy Kanter. Pola and Genia, who changed her name to Jean, later discovered where Natalia was living in Poland, sponsored her daughter, Jeannine, to immigrate the United States. In 1979 Natalia Pisula was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

    Physical Details

    Polish German English
    2 folders

    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.

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    Administrative Notes

    Pola Spitzer donated her collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in April 2013.
    Record last modified:
    2023-12-01 15:01:35
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