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School children in the Santa Cesarea displaced persons' camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 63434

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    School children in the Santa Cesarea displaced persons' camp.
    School children in the Santa Cesarea displaced persons' camp.


    School children in the Santa Cesarea displaced persons' camp.
    1946 October 24
    Santa Cesarea, Italy
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Rachel Mutterperl Goldfarb

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Rachel Mutterperl Goldfarb
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2000.421

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Rachel Goldfarb (born Rachel Mutterperl) is the daughter of Chevel (Berel) and Dina Mutterperl (b. 1906). She was born on December 2, 1930, in Dokszyce, a small town near the border of Poland and Byelorussia. Rachel had a brother Shlomo born in July 1932. Rachel's mother, Dina owned a dry goods store, and her father sold meat and other foods to a Polish garrison stationed near the Russian border. The family was quite prosperous, Orthodox and Zionist; Rachel attended a Hebrew speaking school. However, she had a Catholic nurse who occasionally brought Rachel with her to church. Though her parents disapproved at the time, this helped save her life later on once she went into hiding. Following the start of World War II, the town came under Soviet occupation. The Soviets confiscated the Mutterperl's businesses, denounced them as capitalists and threatened to deport them to Siberia. However, their lives became much worse following the German occupation during the summer of 1941. They had to wear a Jewish star, and the following winter had to move into a ghetto. Rachel's family managed to escape and go into hiding before the final liquidation. In 1942 most of Dokszyce's 3000 Jews were taken outside the town and shot by the Nazis. Rachel's father was among those killed, but before he perished, he built a double wall in the warehouse attached to their house. This provided a hiding place a few feet wide, big enough for several people. Rachel, Dina and Shlomo remained hidden there for about a week and survived the killing action. Rachel's grandmother stepped out of the shelter to see what was happening and never returned. One day, the Mutterperls heard local townsfolk looting the apartment and planning to move in. Dina realized that she was no longer safe there, and that evening she left accompanied by her children. She left her children temporarily with two different non-Jewish friends while she made plans. However, someone recognized and denounced Shlomo. He was arrested and killed at the age of eight. Having lost one child, Dina feared for Rachel's safety as well. She picked up Rachel and they hid for one night in a tall wheat field and then went to the home of a Christian widow whom her husband had helped before the war. She and her daughter hid them for a few nights in their stove, and gave them new clothing and documents. In the fall of 1943, partisan groups began organizing in the area. Rachel's cousin was a photographer who had been allowed to work outside the ghetto in his studio. He knew members of the partisans and helped Dina contact them. They accepted her as their cook, and Rachel helped cook, clean and load weapons. Throughout the war, she and her mother hid their Jewish identity while at the same time refusing to eat pork. They remained in the woods for about a year. After liberation Dina dug up some valuables she had hidden so that she and Rachel could travel farther west to Poland. However after meeting a Soviet Jewish general who warned them to leave Poland as soon as possible, they proceeded south to Lublin and from there to Italy. They stayed in the Santa Cesarea displaced persons' camp. They originally planned to go to Israel, but after Rachel's aunt in America learned that they were alive, they immigrated to the United States instead, arriving on November 17, 1947.
    Record last modified:
    2008-09-16 00:00:00
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