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Two Jewish women in hiding pose with their Polish employer and her son.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 91308

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    Two Jewish women in hiding pose with their Polish employer and her son.
    Two Jewish women in hiding pose with their Polish employer and her son.

From left to right are the employer Mrs. Ptashkowski, Blanka Bornstein, the employer's baby and Bronka Lerner.

    Overview

    Caption
    Two Jewish women in hiding pose with their Polish employer and her son.

    From left to right are the employer Mrs. Ptashkowski, Blanka Bornstein, the employer's baby and Bronka Lerner.
    Date
    1942
    Locale
    Lapanow, [Bochnia] Poland
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Blanche Hochbaum

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Blanche Hochbaum

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    RESCUERS & RESCUED -- Poland

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Blanche Hochbaum (born Blanka Bornstein) was the daughter of Claire and Jacob Bornstein. She was born on September 14, 1917 in Krakow, Poland. She had two brothers, an older brother Henryk and a younger brother Nathan (b. 7/22/1924).Their mother died when Blanka was only ten years old. In 1942 Blanka went into hiding and found work as a nanny under a Polish alias. She was abetted by her fluent Polish, and hired by the Ptashkowski, the pharmacist in a small town outside of Krakow. After she worked there for a while, her brother Henryk asked her if his girlfriend Bronka Lerner might also find work in the village. Bronka was a talented seamstress and immediately hired by the pharmacist. On Easter the two girls went to church together with the Ptashkowski family, but Bronka whispered to Blanka that a man there recognized her from Krakow. The man later went to the police and informed them that Bronka and most likely Blanka were Jewish. Bronka escaped, and Blanka remained but convinced someone would prove her origins. Fearing denunciation, Blanka raided the pharmacist's cabinet and took his poison hoping to commit suicide. However by accident she just took quinine. When she realized she was still alive, she confessed everything to her employer. He told her that he would not let her die, and instead sent her back to Krakow to live temporarily with his sister, not telling her Blanka was Jewish. Blanka next found work as a maid in a summer home, but when the summer ended, Blanka again was unemployed. She registered to work in Vienna as the Polish worker Wanda Galos. When she arrived another worker acted as an interpreter. Blanka realized that she and a few other workers were also Jewish. Blanka first worked in a sugar packaging plant. Blanche got a job in a factory packaging sugar. One day a Polish man approached her. Blanka had lived for a short while with his sister. The man tried to blackmail Blanka and told her that unless he paid her protection money, he would denounce her to the Gestapo. He pursued Blanka for several weeks at which point she responded that if he denounced her, she would tell the Gestapo that his sister had hid Jews. The man went away, and Blanka never saw him again. However, she requested that she be transferred to a different factory outside of Vienna. She spent the remainder of the war working in an airplane factory. In April 1945, Blanka was liberated by soldiers from the Red Army. Two months later she wed Leon Hochbaum in a civil ceremony. They had first met in 1942 in Vienna where Leon was also working as a Polish laborer named Leon Margultesz. Leon was born on August 24, 1910 in Tarnopol but grew up in Vienna with an aunt and uncle. His aunt and uncle immigrated to the United States before the war. Their son Jeffrey was born in Vienna in 1946. In December 1948 they immigrated to the United States where their daughter Risa was born. Though Blanche and Leon survived the Holocaust, Blanche's father Jacob and her brother Nathan as well as most of Leon's family were all killed.
    Record last modified:
    2015-05-27 00:00:00
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/pa1171038

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