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Prisoners in the Elsterhorst POW camp perform forced labor.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 46381

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    Prisoners in the Elsterhorst POW camp perform forced labor.
    Prisoners in the Elsterhorst POW camp perform forced labor.


    Prisoners in the Elsterhorst POW camp perform forced labor.
    1940 - 1941
    Elsterhorst, Germany
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Andrzej Szelubski

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Andrzej Szelubski
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2004.327.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Jan Jakow Szelubski (the donor's father) was the son of Tuwia and Miriam Szelubski. He was born on March 25, 1916 in Lida, Poland and had two sisters, Jochewed, who immigrated to Palestine in 1935 and Sonia. Jan attended Tarbut middle school and graduated from a Polish high school. He was a member of Hashomer Hatzair Zionist Socialist Youth movement and in 1935 went to a Hachshara to prepare himself for immigration to Palestine. However he was forced to interrupt this training to return home and help support the family by working in a rubber factory. In 1938 Jan was drafted into the Polish army and served in Vilna. A short time before the end of his military service the war broke out; Jan fought with his unit near East Prussia. On September 24, 1939 the German army captured his unit and transferred them to Oswiecim. Two weeks later the POW's were brought to Stalag 4a, where Poles and Jews were separated. The conditions in the POW camp were very difficult: there was not enough food, and the prisoners were forced to sleep in tents during the winter. During this period Jan corresponded with his parents and younger sister Sonia in Lida and received food packages from home. Unbeknownst to Jan, his parents forwarded all his correspondence and photographs from the POW camp to his sister Jochewed in Palestine. In January 1941 the Germans sent all the Jewish POW's to a camp in Lublin on 7 Lipowa Street. In August 1942 Jan escaped from this camp and obtained forged papers issued under the name Jan Nowak. Jan spent the rest of the war as an Aryan and became the commandant of a unit of the Armia Ludowa (People's Army, Communists). He fought during the Warsaw Uprising and received a medal for his bravery. After the suppression of the Uprising he was imprisoned with other Polish civilians in the camp of Pruszkow, near Warsaw. Again, he managed to escape and joined a partisan group in the woods of Babia Gora and Turbacz. He was liberated there by the Red Army on February 15, 1945. After the war Jan came back to Lublin where he learned that all his family has perished during the war: his father Tuwia was shot by the Nazis in Lida and his mother Miriam and his sister Sonia died in the Vilna ghetto. From 1946 to 1968 Jan worked as a diplomat for the Polish Ministry of External Affairs. In 1971 he left Poland together with his family and settled in Israel. Jan Szelubski died on June 4, 1985.
    Record last modified:
    2010-01-26 00:00:00
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