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Object | Accession Number: 1993.27.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Book, El Hakim, obtained by Julian Hirshfeld while a prisoner in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany in 1945. It is inscribed and stamped with the camp identification. After Germany occupied Poland in September 1939, Julian and his family were interned in Łódź Ghetto. Julian, a 35 year old Jewish textile engineer, was taken from the Ghetto around 1943. He then was interned at Birkenau, Auschwitz, Goleshau, and Buchenwald concentration camps. His first wife, Hela, and daughter, Fryda, 11, were deported from Łódź Ghetto and killed in Auschwitz. Julian's skills as a textile chemist were useful to the Germans and he was employed at various German textile plants during his imprisonment. He believes this is why he survived. He was liberated at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, by US troops and sent to the Red Cross camp at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris. On September 21, 1946, Julian married Franka Rosenblum, whom he had known before and during the war. Franka, from Zawiercie, was a forced laborer and resistance member, deported in August 1943 to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she was shaved, given rags to wear, and tattooed with number 56362. She worked in a hospital, then in a Krupp ammunition factory. In January 1945, she was on death marches to Malkov, Ravensbrück, and Leipzig, where she escaped and hid. The area was soon liberated and she was relocated to a refugee camp in France. A few months after her marriage to Julian, Franka and their infant daughter emigrated to the United States. Julian followed in 1949.
    El Hakim: Roman
    Alternate Title
    Doctor Ibrahim
    publication/distribution:  1936
    received:  1945 April
    publication: Berlin (Germany)
    received: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Frances Hirshfeld, in memory of her husband Dr. Julian Hirshfeld, and their family members who perished during the Holocaust
    Publisher: Wolfgang Kruger Verlag
    Author: John Knittel
    Subject: Julian J. Hirshfeld
    Frances Hirshfeld
    Julian J. Hirshfeld was born in Łódź, Poland, on January 20, 1907, to a Jewish couple, Moshe and Fajga (Fannie) Levinsohn. He was a textile engineer, and received his doctorate in chemistry from Strasbourg University in France, before the war. He married Hela Magazyne, who was born in Warsaw, on May 31, 1908, to Leon and Fela. Julian and Hela had one daughter, Fryda, born in Łódź on March 12, 1932. Not long after the Germans occupied Poland in September 1939, all the Jews in Łódź were forced into a small, closed ghetto. In January 1942, the Germans began large scale deportations of the ghetto residents to killing centers. Julian's wife and 10 year old daughter were deported from Łódź Ghetto and killed in Auschwitz: Fryda in 1942; Hela in 1943. Julian was imprisoned at Birkenau, Auschwitz, Goleshau, and Buchenwald concentration camps. His left arm was tattooed with the number 157668 at Auschwitz. The Germans used his skills as a chemist at various textile plants and he believes this is why he survived. Julian was liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, and remembers being found and helped by an American GI. He was relocated to a Red Cross camp in Paris, France, run from the Hotel Lutetia. He encountered Franka Rosenblum, whom he knew before and during the war. Franka had been sent from Zawiercie ghetto to Birkenau, Auschwitz, Malhof (Malkov), Ravensbrueck, and liberated after escaping a death march near Leipzig in April 1945. The couple married in Belgium on September 21, 1946. At the end of 1946, Franka and their infant daughter left for America. Julian followed in 1949 and they settled in Decatur, Alabama. Julian, 74, passed away in 1981.
    Franka (Frances) Mariam Rosenblum was born in Opatow Kieliecki, (Wojewowldztwo Swietokryzskie) Poland, on July 26, 1918, to Meyer and Gabriella (Malka) Wajman Rosenblum. Her father died before she was born. In 1924, she and her mother moved to Sosnowiec. Her mother had nine siblings and mother and daughter next went to live with the Sojka's, an uncle's family in Zawiercie. When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, the Sojka's fled east to Russian territory, but it was winter and conditions were very harsh. Franka smuggled herself back to the German occupied area and found that nothing remained: homes and property had been confiscated. She was unable to get back into the Russian sector, but her family returned to the Zawiercie ghetto. Franka worked as forced labor in the steel mill, and became involved in the resistance.

    On August 26, 1943, Franka was deported by the German authorities to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Upon arrival, she was stripped naked, had her head shaved, was given dirty, lice infested rags to wear, and tattooed with the number 56362. If she asked a question, she was slapped until her teeth shook. They slept six to a bunk in a stable with three layers of bunks. They worked all the time, some just carrying heavy rocks back and forth. They got ersatz coffee and a small piece of bread in the morning and evening, and dirty, watery soup during the day. If you washed your clothes, you had to sleep in them wet. Trains arrived all the time from across Europe, unloaded by men called zondercommandos, who were given the choice of helping to unload the trains or going to the ovens alive. She learned about the Warsaw Uprising from other camp inmates who had been sent to the camp from there. Franka worked first in a hospital zone crowded with people dying from starvation and disease, then in a Krupp ammunition factory. She was moved from Auschwitz to Birkenau where she lived near the place where medical experiments were conducted. One day, a Belgian girl was caught trying to escape. All the inmates were called to see her execution by hanging; someone slipped her a razor blade and she cut her wrists to escape the gallows. Beginning in January 1945, Franka was taken on a series of death marches to Malkov, Ravensbrück, and Leipzig; near Dresden, around April, she escaped and the area was soon liberated.

    She learned that her mother, all nine of her mother’s siblings, and her grandparents had perished. Franka was relocated to France where she met Julian Hirshfeld, a textile engineer and survivor of Auschwitz and many other concentration camps whose wfie and child had been murdered in a German camp. They had known each other before the war in the ghetto. They married in Brussels, Belgium, on September 26, 1946. In October, with the help of an uncle in Jacksonville, Florida, Franka emigrated to the United States with their infant daughter. Julian arrived in the US in 1949. They settled in Decatur, Alabama, and had another daughter and a son. Both she and her husband spoke about their experiences to many groups, because they believed that "Whatever is not enough." Julian, 72, died in 1981. Frances, 80, passed away in 1999.

    Physical Details

    German English
    Object Type
    Books (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Green hard cover book with an attached paper stamped with Buchenwald camp identification glued on an inside page. There is a stamp identifying the prisoner who owned it, annotated with his birth and death dates. 442 p. ; 19 cm.
    overall : paper, ink
    inside page, stamped, black ink : From the Collection of Dr. Julian J. Hirshfeld
    inside page, handwritten, black ink : 1907-1981 (follows ink stamp above)
    inside page, on adhered paper, printed and stamped, purple ink : Haftlingsbucherei K.L. Buchenwald (Prisoners' Library of Buchenwald Concentration Camp)

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
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    Conditions on Use
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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The book was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 by Frances Hirshfeld, the widow of Julien Hirshfeld.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 17:44:40
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