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Group portrait of soldiers in the Polish Berling Army.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 23365

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    Group portrait of soldiers in the Polish Berling Army.
    Group portrait of soldiers in the Polish Berling Army. 

Among those pictured are two Jewish soldiers: Henryk Lanceter (standing third from the right) and Marian Kaufman (standing second from the left).


    Group portrait of soldiers in the Polish Berling Army.

    Among those pictured are two Jewish soldiers: Henryk Lanceter (standing third from the right) and Marian Kaufman (standing second from the left).
    May 1945
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Eugenia Hochberg Lanceter
    Event History
    The Berling Army (initially, the 1st Infantry Division Tadeusz Kosciuszko), was a Polish division formed in the USSR in the summer of 1943 at the instigation of the Union of Polish Patriots, a group of Polish communists living in the Soviet Union. After diplomatic relations between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet Union broke off in April 1943 in the wake of the discovery of the Katyn massacre, the Union of Polish Patriots assumed the role of representing the interests of Polish nationals in the Soviet Union. Stalin acceded to the organization's request to establish a new Polish army in May 1943. (The first Polish army formed in the USSR, the Anders Army, had departed for Iran in the spring and summer of 1942, following major disagreements between Soviet and Polish authorities over the training and deployment of the Polish army.) The Polish division was intended to create the nucleus of a new Polish army that would support a reconstituted Polish state following the defeat of Germany. The Polish division departed for the front from its training camp in Seltso near Ryazan on September 1, 1943. Attached to the 33rd Army of the Western Front, the division distinguished itself in the battle of Lenino in Belarus. By the summer of 1944 so many Polish nationals had volunteered for military service that it became possible to form an entire Polish army numbering almost 110,000 men. The Polish 1st Army, which comprised four infantry divisions, as well as other units, was put under the command of General Zygmunt Berling, who had formerly served as chief of staff of the 5th Infantry Division of the Anders Army. After supervising the evacuation of the Anders Army in Krasnovodsk, Berling decided to remain in the USSR to rebuild a Polish Army, which would fight alongside the Red Army against the Germans. For this act of desertion he was court-martialed in abstentia by the high command of the Anders Army. Units of the Berling Army participated in the Brest-Lublin offensive in July 1944. After Lublin was liberated on July 23, a Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKWN) came into being, which created a single Polish People's Army from the Polish 1st Army (Berling Army) and the Polish People's Army (Armia Ludowa). General Michal Zymierski was appointed supreme commander of the new army, but Berling retained command over the 1st Army and became deputy supreme commander for military affairs. From Lublin, units of the Berling Army moved to Warsaw and ultimately to Berlin, where they participated in the liberation of the capital.

    [Source: Second World War 1939-1945. "The Shortest Way to Poland." (22 October 2004).]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Eugenia Hochberg Lanceter
    Source Record ID: Collections: 1999.A.34

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Gina Lanceter (born Eugenia Ginia Hochberg) is the daughter of Bernard and Dina (Harmelin) Hochberg. She was born November 27, 1928 in Brody, Poland, where her father earned a living as a grain shipper. She had one brother, Sigmund (b. 1922). Eugenia attended a private, non-religious, Jewish school in Brody. After the German invasion and the repartition of Poland in the fall of 1939, Brody came under Soviet occupation. For two years the Hochbergs remained in their home, but were compelled to share their living quarters with other Jewish families. No longer permitted to run his own business, Bernard was forced to take work as a night watchman. In June 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Brody fell under Nazi domination. On November 27, 1941 Bernard was deported to a labor/concentration camp in Zborow, where he remained for five months until his wife could purchase his freedom and bring him home. The Hochbergs relocated to the ghetto after its establishment in the winter of 1942. During this period Eugenia was sent for forced labor to various sites outside the ghetto. She also performed secretarial tasks in the offices of the Judenrat. The family was rounded-up during the final liquidation of the Brody ghetto on May 21, 1943. While on the deportation train to Majdanek, Eugenia's parents forced her to jump off before they reached their destination. Eugenia was found semi-conscious by Polish peasants who stole her clothing and were about to take her to the police, when a railway worker appeared and insisted on taking her himself. Instead of turning her in, however, he offered her temporary shelter and found clothes for her to wear. Eugenia found her way back to Brody, where she smuggled herself into the forced labor camp. Several weeks later, she smuggled herself back out and found refuge with a Polish woman, who harbored other Jews for payment. Eugenia narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo during a raid on her place of refuge in November 1943. Though she was able to find another hiding place in the home of a Russian woman, Eugenia had to spend the last six weeks of the war concealed in a hole under a bed where two German officers were billeted. Following her liberation in March 1944, Eugenia lived for a time in Brody and then in Lublin. She married Henryk Lanceter in July 1945, and five months later left for Germany. The couple took up residence in the Finkenschlag displaced persons camp in Fuerth, where their daughter was born. In the summer of 1949 the family emigrated to the United States, sailing aboard the General Holbrook to Boston.

    Henryk Sigmund Lanceter was the son of Aron and Ella (Chineser) Lanceter. He was born in 1919 in Brody, Poland, where his father was a teacher at a Jewish school, and subsequently, the owner of a small notions store. Henryk had one brother, Samuel (b. 1913). The Lanceter children were brought up in a traditional Jewish home. Henryk attended a private Jewish school until the fourth grade. He then moved to a Polish public school, and finally to a commercial high school. After his graduation in 1937, Henryk obtained a job in a wholesale food business. Following the outbreak of World War II, Henryk remained in Brody. When the Soviets took control of the city, the food company Henryk worked for was nationalized, but he continued in his job. In October 1940 he was drafted into the Soviet army and sent to officers training school in Czkalov, followed by deployment in the Urals. The rest of his family remained in Brody. They were subsequently deported to their death in Belzec in September 1942. As a Polish exile in the Soviet Union, Henryk was offered the opportunity of joining the Anders Army in 1942, but he refused when he was told he would have to renounce his Jewish identity. Henryk was then detained and sent to a series of labor camps, including ones in Uzbekistan and Mongolia. In January 1944 Henryk was released and allowed to join the new Polish, communist, Berling Army, which was then forming in the Soviet Union. He fought with the new army as it advanced westward with the Red Army to liberate Eastern and East-Central Europe. He participated in the liberation of Warsaw, Lublin (including Majdanek) and Prague. In the spring of 1945 his unit reached Berlin, where he joined in the liberation of Oranienburg. Following the German surrender, Henryk was sent to Lublin, where he worked in an administrative post for the Polish army. In June he met Eugenia Lanceter, a Jewish survivor from his hometown of Brody. Two weeks later, on July 19, 1945, they were wed. Eugenia insisted that they leave Poland, and in the fall they fled westward, not having a precise destination. When they reached Katowice they were advised to head for Germany rather than Italy. More specifically, they were told to travel to Berlin and there seek the help of a Polish Jew named Seiden, who had made it rich as a businessman in interwar Berlin. Seiden, who had vowed that if he were to survive, he would dedicate himself to helping other Jews in need, owned a hotel in Berlin-Charlottenburg, which was returned to him after the war. When the Lanceters arrived in Berlin and contacted Seiden, he provided them with a room at his hotel. The couple only remained a short time in Berlin before smuggling themselves into the American sector of Germany on New Year's Eve. The Lanceters stayed briefly in Munich and the Foehrenwald displaced persons camp before settling down in the Finkenschlag DP camp in Fuerth in March 1946. There, Henryk was given a position in the camp administration managing supplies. Their daughter Dina was born August 16, 1946. Approximately two years later, Henryk and Eugenia moved into the town of Fuerth, where Henryk worked as an administrator and accountant for the Jewish community. The family remained there until April 1949, when they moved to the Wildflecken transit camp. The Lanceters left Germany for the U.S. on the General Holbrook in June 1949. After arriving in Boston, they settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., where their second child, Arnold Bernard, was born on March 14, 1950.
    Record last modified:
    2004-11-12 00:00:00
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