Levi Itzhak (Lewek) Szabason (now Lewis Shabasson) is the son of Ezra Zelig Szabason and Faigal Laja Gruman Szabason. He was born on March 10, 1914 in Kozienice where his father owned a saw mill and owned a small construction business. Their family owned one of the only two telephones in the town. Ezra Zelig was president of the local Zionist organization, whereas his wife was extremely religiously observant. Lewek assisted his father in the business and belonged to the 'Meshek Grochow' group of the General Zionist youth organization. Lewek had four older siblings -- Chaja (b. 1901), Jakub (b. 1903), Motl Mordechai (b. 1908) and Etel (b. 1912), and one younger sister Ruchl (Rosa, b. 1919). On September 1, 1939 Germany launched an invasion of Poland, and one week later they occupied Kozienice. Bargaining that only the men would suffer under the Nazis, Ezra Zelig fled to the Soviet Union with Etel and Motl and their respective spouses. Lewek, Chaja and Ruchl remained in Kozienice with their mother. Jakub also remained behind with his wife and son. The Germans established a ghetto in Kozienice; Jews were required to wear white armbands and perform slave labor. Lewek worked for the beer brewery in town until June 1942, and he smuggled wood into the ghetto in order to have extra money for food. Lewek's older sister, Chaja, convinced him and Ruchl to escape from the ghetto sensing that they were the only two who stood any chance of surviving. Unfortunately they were caught, and Lewek was taken to the Wolanow labor camp where he worked on an airfield. After one year, he was transferred to the Radom labor camp, where he was forced to work in an ammunition factory. In July 1944 as the Soviet Army approached the vicinity of Radom, most prisoners were transferred to Veihingen and Auschwitz. From Auschwitz, he was sent to the Wittenberg labor camp near Stuttgart. In March 1945 he was forced on a death march and on April 30, 1945 he was liberated by the US Army. Chaja, her husband Mordechai Rubinsztajn and their daughter, Gila (Genusha) perished in Treblinka in 1942. Motl Mordechai, his wife Rozalia, and Etel and her husband Aron Erlichman all had fled Poland in 1939 to the Soviet Union. All four were killed in 1941 after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, as was Etel's infant child. Lewek's father, Zelig, fled to Lvov in September 1939; he perished there after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Lewek's mother, Faigal Laja, was deported to Treblinka in September 1942 and either perished there or en route. Lewek went back to Kozienice sometime before 1945 and was reunited with his sister Ruchl and his brother Jakub, both of whom had survived the Skarzysko Kamienna camp. In 1946 they left Poland for Germany, and spent some time in the Foehrenwald and Feldafing DP camps and in Munich. On October 27, 1946 Lewek married a fellow survivor, Lifcia Najman, originally from Radom. Their daughter, Emily, was born in Munich on January 16, 1948. On October 1, 1948 the Szabason family sailed on board the General Sturges for the United States. A second daughter Zella was born in the US.