The sixteen acre Kosterberg estate owned by Max Warburg, the prosperous Hamburg Jewish banker, had been in the family for generations. In October 1941 it was seized by the Nazi regime and turned over to the army for use as officers' quarters and a military hospital. Following the German defeat, the British established a field hospital on the premises. A few months later, Eric Warburg (Max's son) returned to Germany and requested the return of the property. As a member of the Joint Distribution Committee's board of directors (his uncle Felix Warburg was one of the founders of the JDC), Eric decided to turn over the estate to the JDC for use as a shelter for Jewish orphans rescued from the concentration camps. Hundreds of children (most of them liberated in Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt) passed through the Warburg home in the three years of its operation.
Aron (Arek) Chuna Zolty is the son of Szlama Zolty and Dina Korn Zolty. He was born on August 7, 1926 in Lodz, Poland where his father ran a tailoring workshop. Arek's older sister, Elka, was born on December 20, 1915 and his older brother, Abram Hersz, was born on February 15, 1920. After the occupation of Lodz, the Zolty family had to move into the ghetto and found an apartment near the barbed wire fence. On July 3, 1940 Arek's mother died at the age of 51. Arek attended school in the ghetto, while his father and sister worked in the sewing workshop. After the schools closed in September 1941, Arek found work in the leather and saddle workshop. Szlama Zolty died of hunger on August 20, 1942 at the age of 56. At about the same time, Arek underwent an appendicitis in the ghetto hospital. While recovering from the surgery, Helena Rumkowska, sister-in-law of Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, granted Arek two weeks recovery in the hospital. Arek left the hospital in better shape, after eating bigger rations for two weeks. At that time he had a work permit and worked as a runner for the sewing workshop. On September 5, 1942, during the Gehsperre Aktion, Arek was selected for deportation, despite his work permit and age. He showed his work permit to Hans Biebow, the Nazi administrator of the ghetto, who released him from deportation. On August 8, 1944 Arek and his brother Abram were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Abram was taken to Gross Rosen, where he died in January 1945. Arek was transferred to Trzebinia, a sub camp of Auschwitz. On January 17 at midnight the Germans ordered 600 prisoners to march to Auschwitz I camp. About 300 prisoners arrived there the following day at 3 PM, Arek among them. They were supposed to join a transport of 56,000 prisoners, but they arrived late. The group stood in heavy snow, and Arek asked permission to go to the latrine. He walked as far as he could and decided that he preferred to die in the camp than go on a death march. The group left without him. Arek was among the 1,200 Jewish prisoners who were liberated by the Soviet Army eight days later on January 27, 1945. After recovering, Arek returned to Lodz and learned how to repair sewing machines. Though his sister Elka perished in Auschwitz, Arek managed to reunite with her fiancé, David Pawigon, who survived a POW camp. Soon after Arek Zolty left Poland for a DP camp in Blankenese, where he met and married Sima in May 1946. The young couple immigrated to Israel.