Group portrait of the Dabrowa rabbi and his court.
Photograph | Photograph Number: 24392
- Variant Locale
- Photo Designation
LIFE BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST -- Poland -- Religious Life/Weddings
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Alexander White
Group portrait of the Dabrowa rabbi and his court.
- Alexander White (born Aleksander Bialywlos) was born as on June 4, 1923 in Krosno, Poland. His father, Mendel (Menachem) Bialywlos, b. 1892, owned a wholesale business of mirrors and glass panes as well as framing. Mendel Bialywlos's father-in-law, Hirsh Jozef Platner, established the business. Alexander's mother, Lea Laja Platner Bialywlos, was born in 1902 and was a housewife. She took care of her four children: Mania Gitl, b. 1922; Aleksander Sender, b. 1923; Szlomek, b. 1925; and Chaim Hirsh (Henek), b. 1931. The family was religiously observant and spoke Yiddish at home.
After the German invasion of Poland approximately 3,000 Jews lived in Krosno and its vicinity. The Bialywlos family decided to flee eastward but only one uncle, Jozef Platner, managed to board a train to Stanislawow.
Mendel Bialywlos was the first to return to Krosno, and he was able to avoid public humiliation by the Germans by bribing them. After a few days, Laja and the children returned to Krosno too. Mendel became a member of the Jewish Council and Yehuda Engel was the head of the Judenrat. The commandant of the Gestapo in Krosno was Hauptsturmfuerer Schmatzler and his deputy was Von Davier. The Germans established a ghetto for the Jews in May 1942. The Bialywlos family had to move out of their house into the ghetto. On July 12, 1942, the Germans started to liquidate the ghetto. The Jews from the Krosno vicinity were concentrated in Brzozow, Dukla, Jasienica, Korczyn, and Rymanow, and from there deported to the Belzec death camp. About 800 Jews who went into hiding and were discovered lived in the Krosno from August till December 1942.
On December 2, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and all its inmates deported to Rzeszow, where they shared the plight of Rzeszow Jewry. Before the aktion, Sender and Mosze Heller, a relative by marriage, approached the Gestapo commandant Schmatzler and received assurances that the Bialywlos family was not going to be deported. Despite this assurance, Laja, her children Mania and Henek, and Rachel Heller and her two children, hid in the attic. Not long after the first aktion, Laja and Mania were caught by the Germans and executed near the town of Jaslo. Sender, his father, and his brothers continued to work as glaziers for the Germans as forced laborers.
On December 3, 1942, a final liquidation of the Krosno took place. Mendel, Seder, and Henek, as well as Mosze Heller, his wife Rachel and their two children hid in the cellar of the glazing workshop. Szlomek was at that time in Jaslo and was executed there in February 1943. The next day the Germans forced them out and decided to keep Sender, his father and Mosze Heller as slave laborers at the nearby military airbase. Henek and Rachel Heller and her two children were taken to the Rzeszow ghetto. In June 1943, Henek Bialywlos, then 12 years old, was deported to Auschwitz and killed on arrival. From December 1942 until the end of December 1943, Sender and his father worked together with 120 other Jews at the airbase. They were able to buy additional food on the black market. Mendel Bialywlos deposited the family valuables with Mr. Laskowski, a Polish friend and neighbor and from time to time they would get money from him to purchase additional food.
In December 1943, 400 Soviet POWs were brought to the airbase and the Jews were transferred to the Szebnie labor camp. In the beginning of January they were taken to the Plaszow concentration camp. Sender was placed in barrack 29 and his prisoner's number was 69108. He, his father and Mosze Heller worked in the glaziers and painters workgroup. In May 1944, they were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Mendel Bialywlos was selected for death. Sender worked in burning corpses dug out from mass graves. On October 15, 1944, Sender found out that he was assigned to go to Brunlitz, as he was included on the Schindler's list. At first he was taken to Gross-Rosen, where he got very sick with diarrhea. After a few days, he was transferred to Brunlitz.
Immediately after the liberation, in May 1945, Sender returned to Krosno to search for surviving family members. He met his paternal uncle, Samuel Bialywlos, who was liberated in Buchenwald, as well as his cousin Josek Fruhman, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald. A few weeks later they decided to leave Poland and with great difficulties managed to reach Munich. Sender later went to medical school and immigrated to the United States. He completed his residency in the Mount Sinai hospital in Chicago, where he met his future wife, Inez K. Libby. They married in February 1953. Sender Bialywlos changed his name to White. Dr. and Mrs. White have three children: Denise Lee, b. 12/1953, Les Edward, b. 4/1955; and Julie Ann, b. 12/1959. They currently reside in Scottsdale, AZ.
- Photo Source
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Alexander White
Record last modified: 2010-12-29 00:00:00
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