Close-up portrait of two young Jewish girls in a kindergarten in Lodz.
Photograph | Photograph Number: 69483
1946 - 1952
- Variant Locale
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Rachela and Lolek Grynfeld
Close-up portrait of two young Jewish girls in a kindergarten in Lodz.
- Rachel Grynfeld (born Rachelka Grynglas) is the middle child and the only daughter of Abram Grynglas and Hela (Mariem Jochewed) Pakula Grynglas. She was born on January 2, 1925 in Lodz, Poland where her father was a merchant, and her mother (b.1890) owned and managed a bakery shop. The family lived above the store. They were religiously observant Zionists. Max Benjamin (Minek) Grynglas, Rachelka's older brother was born in December 1920, and her younger brother, Dawid (Dawidek) was born in April 1929. Rachelka attended a Hebrew Gymnasium. Minek graduated from the Hebrew Gymnasium in Lodz and started graduate studies at a Polytechnic in Nancy, France. His father convinced Minek to transfer to the Technion in Haifa. Minek passed the entrance exams and was supposed to start his studies in October 1939, but the war broke out before he could leave. Since Lodz became part of the German Reich, Rachelka's parents decided to move the family to Warsaw. Abram Grynglas took Minek to Warsaw to find an apartment and then returned to Lodz to pick up his wife and two younger children. However the Germans sealed the ghetto, and they became trapped in Lodz. Since the family's apartment was within the ghetto perimeters on Zgierska Street, other family members moved in with them as well. Both Rachelka and her younger brother Dawidek went to the ghetto schools. She attended the gymnasium and her brother went to elementary school. Rachelka graduated from Gymnasium in June 1941, a few months before the schools closed. In April 1942 Dawid turned thirteen. Despite the difficult conditions, his parents prepared a bar mitzvah for him and hired a tutor with Hela's own soup portion. All family members worked. Hela Grynglas worked in the paper workshop. Abram Grynglas was offered a position with the ghetto police, but he refused and continued to work in the ghetto store which he later transformed into a public kitchen. Rachelka worked in a succession of workshops, including carpet-making and metalwork. One day, the "Kripo" criminal police arrested Abram after someone reported that he had valuables. The police beat him up and searched the apartment. They found gold coins which they confiscated, and then issued him a receipt. During the "Gehsperre" Aktion in September 1942, Rachelka, her brother and mother hid in a space between the apartment and the former store. Rachelka's paternal grandmother Neszka also hid and survived. The hunger and hard work continued until August 1944, when Rachelka and her family were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was brutally separated from her parents and brother. Rachelka was transferred to the Halbstadt slave labor camp at the end of October 1944 where she worked in an ammunition plant until her liberation by the Soviet Army in May 1945. Rachelka returned to Lodz and realized that all her family perished except for her cousin Pola Domb. Soon after her return to Lodz she met Lolek Grynfeld.
Lolek Eliezer Grynfeld is the son of Abram Mosze Grynfeld and Chaja Hela Rozental Grynfeld. He was born in Lodz on October 18, 1923. After his parents divorced when Lolek was a small boy, he and his mother shared a three room apartment with five other members of her family. Lolek's mother worked in a department store as manager of the shoes department. Lolek's maternal grandparents were orthodox Jews and tried to instill religion in Lolek, but without much success. Lolek attended Polish schools but socialized only with other Jews. At the age of 14 Lolek graduated from elementary school and started to attend a gymnasium for working youth. In the mornings he worked, first in a store and later in a printing house. Soon after the war broke out, Lolek witnessed anti-Jewish terror when a German policeman entered the apartment of his friends, the Cytryn family, and terrorized the three children who were alone in the apartment. The German demanded money and valuables and cut off one of the side locks of the little boy as well as one of the braids of his sister.
In April 1940 Lolek, his mother and grandparents moved into the ghetto. His grandparents, Abram and Rojza Rozental, both died in the ghetto. Lolek got a job as a mailman, and his mother worked in the paper workshop. Later he became a runner for the Jewish hospitals and a hospital receptionist. Lolek received additional portions of soup in the hospital which enabled him to give his regular rations to his mother. Shortly before the hospital Aktion, Lolek became sick with jaundice and was registered to enter the hospital as a patient. Fearing that the Germans would come to look for him, he entered the hospital and tore out the page of the register with his name. Later that week he wore his white coat and stood together with his mother at selection conducted by the Germans at their courtyard. Hela Grynfeld was 42 years old and very thin. The Germans let her go due to Lolek's white coat. During the Gehsperre Aktion Lolek worked in the hospital, removing corpses and cleaning after the bloody deportation. He later became a runner for the Labor Department responsible for bringing orders for goods to the various ghetto workshops. In August 1944 the Lodz ghetto was liquidated. Most prisoners were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. However, through his contacts with Mr. Jakubowicz, who was responsible for all the workshops in the ghetto, Lolek and his mother joined a smaller group who were sent on October 21, 1944 to Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrueck. In March 1945 the prisoners of Sachsenhausen were forced on a death march. After a week or two, Lolek and two friends decided to flee. Lolek returned to Lodz in May 1945 to search for relatives and entered the house of his cousin. There, on the steps, sat his mother, who had survived incarceration in Ravensbrueck.
Lolek became a leader of a Kibbutz, a group of Zionist youth, who planned to immigrate to Palestine. There he met Rachel Grynglas. They married in the Kibbutz on March 26, 1946. Soon after the wedding the group crossed the border to Germany and settled in the Leipheim DP camp while awaiting their turn to immigrate. However, in October, Lolek became very sick, and his mother who remained in Lodz arranged for him to return so she could care for him. Rachelka joined Lolek in Lodz, where she worked in a Jewish kindergarten. Lolek's mother married a fellow survivor, Mendel Koplowicz, who had lost his wife and son in Auschwitz. Lolek learned leather work, and the couple even bought an apartment in Lodz. They remained there for ten years. In 1956 Lolek and Rachelka Grynfeld immigrated to Israel with their two small children, Ewa (Chava) and Adam.
- Photo Source
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Rachela and Lolek Grynfeld
Record last modified: 2005-09-29 00:00:00
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