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Israel Zaks wearing his Betar uniform in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 32379

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    Israel Zaks wearing his Betar uniform in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.
    Israel Zaks wearing his Betar uniform in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.


    Israel Zaks wearing his Betar uniform in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp.
    1946 - 1949
    Bergen-Belsen, [Prussian Hanover; Lower Saxony] Germany
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Israel Joe Sachs

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Israel Joe Sachs

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Israel Joe Sachs (born Israel Zew Zaks) is the son of Hela Gelbart (b. 1905) and Jakob (b. 1897) Zaks. He was born in Przyrow, Poland on March 25, 1926 where his father worked as a tailor. 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. Israel and his father worked in a uniform shop 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 escaped to Czechoslovakia and Austria with the Bricha. After meeting members of the Jewish Brigade in Gratz, Israel helped smuggle Jewish refugees into Tarvisio, Italy by setting up diversions. For the next three months, he made two or three trips a week. In December 1946 Israel moved to Zeilsheim DP camp. However, after learned that he had a cousin in Hannover, Israel moved there and lived in the Vinnhorst displaced person's camp 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 Auschwitz-Birkenau, Ravensbrueck, Mauthausen and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. In June 1949 Israel and Mania flew to the United Stated from Bremen, Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2006-01-20 00:00:00
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