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Group portrait of members of the Gordonia Zionist youth movement at a summer camp in Slawniow, Poland.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 61168

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    Group portrait of members of the Gordonia Zionist youth movement at a summer camp in Slawniow, Poland.
    Group portrait of members of the Gordonia Zionist youth movement at a summer camp in Slawniow, Poland.


    Group portrait of members of the Gordonia Zionist youth movement at a summer camp in Slawniow, Poland.
    June 1938 - August 1938
    Slawniow, [Katowice] Poland
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Moshe Sheps & Bat-Szewa Sheps Admoni

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Moshe Sheps & Bat-Szewa Sheps Admoni
    Source Record ID: Collections: 1999.258

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Moniek Szeps (now Moshe Sheps) is the son of Abraham and Chava (Wohlhandler) Szeps. He was born January 6, 1923 in Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland, where his father was a cigarette manufacturer and his mother, a wigmaker. Moniek had two sisters: Fela (b. 1918) and Sabina (now Bat-Sheva Admoni, b. 1921). Moniek attended a cheder (a religious primary school for boys) and later, the Yavneh Hebrew elementary school in nearby Bedzin. At age eleven, he joined the Hashomer Hadati religious Zionist youth movement and participated in meetings and summer camps organized by the Mizrachi movement. He attended high school at the Fuerstenberg gymnasium, a private, co-educational Hebrew language school in Bedzin. Soon after the German invasion in September 1939, the Szeps family was forced to move to an area of town that was to become the ghetto. Moniek went to work at the local city hall and was given a special work permit that exempted him from resettlement. Going to work everyday outside the ghetto afforded him the opportunity to purchase tobacco for his father's cigarette making workshop and food items for the family. Moniek's sisters both found work at the Rosner factory, which produced military uniforms. On February 7, 1942 both girls were deported to the Gruenberg labor camp. There they worked for the Deutsche Wollwaren [German Woolens] company until April 1945. During their years in the camp they kept a diary, which they wrote on scraps of paper and kept in a cloth pouch. In the final months of the war Fela and Sabina were evacuated and put on a death march that led first to the Helmbrechts concentration camp and ultimately ended in Volary, Czechoslovakia. Fela died in Volary on May 9, 1945, a few days after their liberation. Sabina survived. Five months after the sisters were sent to the Gruenberg camp, the Dabrowa Gornicza ghetto was liquidated and Moniek's parents were deported to their death in Auschwitz. Moniek, who was 19 years old at the time, took it upon himself to send letters and food packages to his sisters in Gruenberg, despite regulations which forbade him to do so. In March 1943 while Moniek was preparing to escape from Dabrowa, he was arrested and interned in the Dulag, the transit camp located in neighboring Sosnowiec. From there he was sent to the Blechhammer labor camp. Subsequently, he was transferred to Bunzlau, a subcamp of Gross Rosen, where he was put to work for the Hubert Land Holzbau [wood construction] company. Moniek remained in Bunzlau until the camp was evacuated in February 1945. He was then taken to the Dora Mittelbau concentration camp. He was finally liberated in Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945. Throughout his imprisonment, Moniek kept a few family photographs concealed on his body. While he was convalescing from typhus in a British field hospital after the war, his friend, Motek Nussbaum, took care of his photographs. Moniek and Sabina were reunited at a displaced persons camp in Salzburg. Moniek later joined in the establishment of a kibbutz hachshara [Zionist collective] on an estate in Geringshof, Germany near Fulda. It was named Kibbutz Buchenwald, and there Moniek studied agriculture in preparation for immigration to Palestine. Subsequently Moniek, and his future wife, Zahava Zilberstein, boarded an illegal immigrant ship for Palestine. The ship was intercepted by the British and its passengers sent to detention camps in Cyprus. Eventually the Szeps reached Palestine. Sabina also immigrated to Palestine. She married Oskar Rotman (later Yehoshua Admoni) from Stanislawow.
    Record last modified:
    2004-07-02 00:00:00
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