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Postwar studio portraif of Pearl and Helen (right) Herskovic who survived the war as Mengele twins and their brother Arno, a soldier in the Czech army.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 49646

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    Postwar studio portraif of Pearl and Helen (right) Herskovic who survived the war as Mengele twins and their brother Arno, a soldier in the Czech army.
    Postwar studio portraif of Pearl and Helen (right) Herskovic who survived the war as Mengele twins and their brother Arno, a soldier in the Czech army.

    Overview

    Caption
    Postwar studio portraif of Pearl and Helen (right) Herskovic who survived the war as Mengele twins and their brother Arno, a soldier in the Czech army.
    Date
    May 1945
    Locale
    Prague, [Bohemia] Czechoslovakia
    Variant Locale
    Praha
    Czech Republic
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Anita Scanlon

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Anita Scanlon

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Helen Herskovic Rappaport (the mother of the donor, Anita Scanlon) is the daughter of Isaac Herskovic and Chaya Schwartz Herskovic. She was born on January 18, 1921 in Chynadiyovo (Cinadovo), in the Carpathian region of Czechoslovakia where her father was a tailor. She had six older siblings - Miriam, Emelia (Malka), Bernard, Eugene, Mor (Moshe) and Arnold --and an identical twin sister Pearl. In 1939, Emelia (later Berkowitz) immigrated to the United States and settled in Gary, Indiana. Bernard moved to Mexico in the 1920s. Helen's mother Chaya died in 1942 of natural causes. In March 1944 Germany seized control of the area and soon deported all the Jews to Auschwitz. Helen's father Isaac and oldest sister Miriam Schnitzler (b. 1906) along with two of her three young children were killed at Auschwitz upon arrival. Her husband Moshe also perished, but her oldest daughter Nancy survived because she was old enough for slave labor. Because they were twins, Helen and Pearl were selected by Dr. Josef Mengele for medical experiments. On their birthday January 18th, 1945 they were marched out of Auschwitz on a "death march". They marched for three months until they were liberated by the American Army in April somewhere in Austria. She and Pearl remembered their sister Emelia's address in Gary Indiana and gave an American soldier a letter for Emelia and he mailed it for them. Their brother Eugene was impressed by the Hungarians for slave labor and used to clear mine fields. He later was sent to numerous concentration camps including Dachau, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Mor attended medical school in Brno. Having survived incarceration in Auschwitz, he fled the Communists and came to the United States in 1950. The youngest brother Arnold was captured by the Russians at the Czechoslovak border and deported to Siberia in 1940. They released him in 1943 so that he could join new Czech units and fight against Germany. He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1946, and he became a teacher. In 1948 Pearl and Eugene also immigrated to the United States. After the war Helen met Herman at the synagogue in Zatec Czecholslovakia on Yom Kippur, 1945. They married in August of 1947 but were forced to separate shortly thereafter as Helen got her Visa and had to leave for the United States without Herman. Herman then escaped to Palestine and was there for four years as he waited for his Visa to the United States. Helen and Herman were reunited in Gary Indiana in 1952.

    Herman Rappaport was born on January 8, 1917, in Lastomir, Czechoslovakia, a small town near Kosice. He was the son Shendor Alexander Rappaport (born in Piosta Dobush, 1891) and Ethel Winberger (born Uzhorod 1890). He had two older brothers Hugo and Max and five younger siblings: Yoli, Helen, Irene, Samuel, and Eva. His oldest brother Hugo was imprisoned in Budapest for suspected Communist activities. Max and Herman served in Hungarian labor battalions. In 1944 he returned to his family and was with them when they were deported to Auschwitz in the spring. His parents were killed immediately as was his sister Yoli's young baby. Herman was sent to dismantle the destroyed Warsaw ghetto. When the task was complete he returned to Auschwitz. One time during roll-call a dog brushed against his leg. After this happened again, the SS officer in charge realized that Herman had a natural affinity for dogs and put him in charge of feeding the animal. A Kapo entered the compound became enraged at seeing Herman feed meat to the dog. The dog came to Herman's defense and lunged at the Kapo, pinning him to the ground . After allowing the Kapo to sweat for a few seconds, Herman called the dog off. From Auschwitz, Herman was sent on a death march to Dachau where he was liberated in late April 1945. Miraculously all seven of Herman's siblings survived. They reunited and lived together in Czechoslovakia. The boys worked while the sisters kept house. Eventually the siblings began to marry and move away. Herman met Helen at synagogue the first Yom Kippur after liberation , then they were married in 1947. In 1948 Helen received her papers to go to the United States. She moved to the United States along with her niece Nancy (the daughter of her sister Miriam) to join her siblings in Gary, Indiana. After Helen left, Herman escaped communist Czechoslovakia and went to Palestine. Herman remained in Palestine while awaiting a visa to the United States. In 1952 Herman finally was allowed to come to the United States as well, and the family reunited.
    Record last modified:
    2009-04-21 00:00:00
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