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Group portrait of Polish survivors who are living temporarily in Szczecin before leaving for the west.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 51886

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    Group portrait of Polish survivors who are living temporarily in Szczecin before leaving for the west.
    Group portrait of Polish survivors who are living temporarily in Szczecin before leaving for the west.

David Rynecki is pictured on the top left.

    Overview

    Caption
    Group portrait of Polish survivors who are living temporarily in Szczecin before leaving for the west.

    David Rynecki is pictured on the top left.
    Date
    1945
    Locale
    Stettin, [Pomerania] Germany
    Variant Locale
    Poland
    [Szczecin]
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of David Rynecki

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: David Rynecki

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    David Rynecki is the son of Ezriel (later Irving, b. 3/23/1900) and Szendla nee Jabkowicz Rynecki (later Shirley, b. 5/10/1902). He was born on March 23, 1928 in Siedlce. He has one younger brother Mosche born on April 9, 1932. Ezriel's parents Icko and Estera (Gelbart) Rynecki owned a bakery in Siedlce and lived a religious life. Ezriel wanted to escape the Orthodox surroundings and moved with his family to Aleksandrow Kujawski where he worked as a shoemaker. They remained there for about ten years. In 1938, following the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany, the ethnic Germans in Aleksandrow attacked the Jewish residents of the town. Ezriel therefore decided to move the family back to Siedlce. David attended Polish schools, participated in sports teams and had many Polish friends. In September 1939 Germany invaded Poland and bombed Siedlce destroying many homes. In August 1941 the Germans established a ghetto. David's father went into hiding since the Germans were rounding up older men. David, along with other teenagers, was assigned to work in the SS barracks cleaning and carrying bedding. One day, he and his friends began to joke around. An SS man thought he was making fun of the Germans and hit him on the top of his head with his rifle. Afterwards David vowed never to return to the barracks. Instead, he spent his days playing with his Polish friends after having removed his armband. During the first deportation from the ghetto, Ezriel was rounded-up. The family had no idea where he was taken. Shortly before the liquidation of the ghetto in September, 1942, David overheard an older German soldier (who did not belong to the Nazi party) warning another Jew of impending deportations. David returned home and told his mother and brother that they had to flee the ghetto immediately. David's uncle refused to join them and argued it was safer to remain in the ghetto. He did not survive. David's grandmother also perished after having been deported on the last transport from Siedlce. She worked in her bakery until the end. David, Szendla and Mosche left at night and went to the house of an elderly Polish couple, Wladek and Stasa Kaminski. The Kaminskis had worked for David's grandmother bringing wood and supplies to the bakery. They did not have children of their own and were very fond of David and Mosche. They lived a small farming village about two hours away on the edge of the town removed from other people. The Ryneckis slept in their barn and during the day often hid in the woods behind the home, protected by nearby swamps. On the rare occasions when there were Germans in the town, the Kaminskis piled some stones outside the barn once they left as a sign that it was safe to return. As soon as they learned that the Soviets had liberated the area, the Kaminskis demanded that David and his family leave immediately since they were afraid their neighbors would persecute them for having sheltered Jews. Szendla and her two sons returned to Siedlce and lived together with the few other survivors in the town's former Beit Midrash. One day David went to his former home escorted by a Jewish Soviet soldier to search for any surviving possessions. A Polish family now lived there, and all their personal belongings had been removed. However when David searched in the potato cellar, he found his father's shoemaking tools which he retrieved and kept with him for the next 60 years. After a while, the Ryneckis left for Stolczyn where larger numbers of Jews were gathering from surrounding towns. More arrived constantly by train. One day, Mosche went to the train station and found his father who had survived incarceration at Nordhausen and had learned of the whereabouts of his wife and sons. . The Bricha sent Mosche to the Zionist movement's Dror Children's home in Berlin-Schlachtensee along with other younger children. A few months later Bricha guides brought David and his parents to Hanover in the British zone and then to the Ziegenhain displaced persons camp in the American zone. They arrived in August 1945 and remained for about a yearAfter a few months he reunited with his family in Ziegenhain. After the Ziegenhain camp closed, the family moved to Kassel and then Bremerhaven to await passage to the United States. Immigrated to US on left Europe March 25, 1949 and arrived in Boston on April 19, 1949 aboard a troop ship, the General Haan. From there they took a train to New York and from there to Brooklyn where they reunited with Szendla's two brothers who had immigrated to the United States before the war and her sister who had moved to Belgium and then immigrated during the war via Casablanca.
    Record last modified:
    2011-08-02 00:00:00
    This page:
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