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The Vinnhorst building on the outskirts of Hanover, which was used by the Nazis as an old-age home, housed approximately 200 Jewish DPs mostly from Bergen-Belsen.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 32368

The Vinnhorst building on the outskirts of Hanover, which was used by the Nazis as an old-age home, housed approximately 200 Jewish DPs mostly from Bergen-Belsen.

Israel Zew Zaks was born in Przyrow, Poland on March 25, 1926 to Hela Gelbart (b. 1905) and Jakob (b. 1897) Zaks. Jakob worked as a tailor, and Israel's older brother Natan was born in 1925 in Lodz. In 1938 the family moved to Sosnowiec to be closer to their extended family. Following the Nazi invasion, Israel and his family lived in the Jewish quarter on Dekerta Street until August 1942. He worked in a uniform shop with his father while Natan worked in a furniture factory. In August 1942 Israel was rounded up along with approximately 200 other young men and placed in a holding cell before being taken to a camp in Germany to set up the Krupp factory in Markstadt. He never saw his family again. In December 1944 Israel, along with 600 other prisoners, was forcibly marched to Gross Rosen in sub-zero temperatures with no protective clothing. The following month he was marched from Gross Rosen to Goerlitz where he was put to work making armored vehicles. Once in Goerlitz, an SS man caught Israel and two other prisoners stealing discarded food from a dumpster behind the SS dining room. He lined them up to be shot. The men's lives were spared only because the SS man's gun repeatedly failed to fire. On May 8, 1945 Israel was liberated by the Soviet army at the age of 19. He tried to return to Sosnowiec but changed his mind after pogroms broke out in Poland. Israel then went to Czechoslovakia and joined Bricha. He then went to Gratz where he met with members of the Jewish Brigade. Israel helped smuggle Jewish refugees into Tarvisio, Italy by setting up diversions. He worked for a total of three months making two or three trips a week. In December 1946 Israel moved to Zeilsheim DP camp before hearing that he had a cousin in Hannover. Israel stayed in Hanover for the next three years. He met his wife Mania Mell in December 1945, and the two were married the following April. Mania was a survivor of the Lodz ghetto and the Auschitz-Birkenau, Ravensbrueck, Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. In June 1949 Israel and Mania flew to the United Stated from Bremen, Germany.

Date
1946
Variant Locale
Hannover
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Israel Joe Sachs
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Record last modified: 1999-09-22 00:00:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1117417