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A group of Jewish men from the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp pose at the train station.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 91380

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    A group of Jewish men from the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp pose at the train station.
    A group of Jewish men from the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp pose at the train station.

    Overview

    Caption
    A group of Jewish men from the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp pose at the train station.
    Date
    1947
    Locale
    Bergen-Belsen, [Prussian Hanover; Lower Saxony] Germany
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Ernie Pollak

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Ernie Pollak

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Ernie (originally Erno) Pollak is the son of Dov Yoel and Malka Pollak. He was born in 1926 in Viseu de Sus, in Maramures Romania where his father was a shochet (kosher butcher and slaughterer). Erno was one of eight children and his family was quite religious. They spoke Yiddish at home, and the children attended cheder after school and went to synagogue services daily. In 1940 Hungary occupied northern Romania, and the language of instruction in the schools switched to Hungarian. The Hungarian government prohibited kosher slaughtering and Erno's father had to continue his work clandestinely at night. Economic opportunities for Jewish young men dried up so Erno decided to follow a friend to Budapest to study to become a dental technician. His older brother David also moved to Budapest, but the rest of the family remained in Maramures. Erno and David kept in contact with their family through weekly letters. On March 19, 1944, Germany invaded Hungary. All the family that remained in Viseu was first confined to a ghetto and then deported to Auschwitz. David went into hiding, but Erno was conscripted for forced labor to clear bomb damage in the city. He had to wear a Jewish star and live in a designated neighborhood in Budapest. That fall the Hungarian army sent Erno's battalion on a forced march to the Austria. He eventually arrived in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Shortly before the end of the war, he was transferred to Gunskirshen where conditions were even worse. On May 4, 1945 the American army liberated the camp, only days before the end of the war in Europe. Following liberation Erno first went to Wels to recover. However, after hearing that his older sister Bluma had survived, he moved to the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp to look for her. Though she was not there, he reunited with friends from home. Several months later he learned Bluma, David and one younger brother had survived. His mother and other younger siblings were killed immediately after arriving in Auschwitz. His father and older brother Moshe were shot on a death march just days before liberation. Erno remained in Bergen-Belsen until 1949 when he immigrated to the United States.
    Record last modified:
    2015-04-15 00:00:00
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