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Portrait of Mali Lamm wearing an armband in the Chrzanow ghetto.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 67123

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    Portrait of Mali Lamm wearing an armband in the Chrzanow ghetto.
    Portrait of Mali Lamm wearing an armband in the Chrzanow ghetto.


    Portrait of Mali Lamm wearing an armband in the Chrzanow ghetto.
    Circa 1939 - 1942
    Chrzanow, [Krakow] Poland
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Mali Lamm Baruch

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Mali Lamm Baruch

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    GHETTOS (MINOR) -- (C)

    Administrative Notes

    Mali Baruch (born Mali Lamm) is the daughter of Joseph Lamm (b. Jan. 1894) and Raissa (Rushka) Rosensweig Lamm (b. Nov. 1905). Mali was born on March 15, 1926 in Chrzanow where her father was cattle and grain merchant. She had three younger siblings: Zvi (Hirsh) b. March 21, 1928, Tova (Gusta) b. Oct. 8, 1929 and Ita, born April 20, 1936. Mali's father was a merchant dealing in cattle as well as selling flour and other agricultural products. Mali went to public school and attended Beit Yaakov Hebrew School three afternoons a week. Her brother attended cheder in the afternoons as well. Her parents also hired private tutors for English and German. Mali's family shared a house which belonged to her grandparents and had two apartments one next to the other. Her grandparents and three uncles lived next to Mali and her family. Her grandfather's beer and alcohol store was the ground floor.

    Since their house was within the ghetto boundaries, they did not have to move and remained in their home. Her father's business was confiscated and a German took over it. At the beginning of the war the family set out for Krakow in a horse and buggy did hoping to escape the events around them; but less than a month later they returned to Chrzanow. Upon formation of the ghetto a lot of able bodied men and women began to work in a workshop sewing uniforms for the German army. In May 1942 the Germans conducted a large round-up and deported her grandparents. Mali, her mother and brother had work permits, but her younger sisters stayed at home. On February 18, 1943 Mali set out for work at 6:00 a.m. and saw the ghetto filled with SS men using speakers and telling all of the workers to report to the main square. Mali ran home to warn her parents what was happening. They decided to hide Mali's little sisters in the cellar, and Mali and her parents and brother went to the main plaza. Her mother told her to take a suit jacket where some money had been sewn into it; she also took a winter coat and good shoes. They thought they would return home in a few hours but the Germans started separating men from women. Mali never saw her parents or brother again. Mali also learned that her sisters had left their hiding place and also were picked up. Together with 50 other women, Mali was sent to the Gruenberg concentration camp. She worked in a textile factory that manufactured fabric for army uniforms. Infected with lice and with little sleep, she worked for 12 hours a day receiving a meager portion of soup daily and a bread ration only twice a week.

    The Bedzin and Sosnowiec ghettoes still existed. Somehow Mali's aunt and uncle. Jacob and Sara Rosensweig, and their young child rescaped there and wrote to Mali in her camp. Mali decided to escape the camp and try to join them. Forming a plan she decided to leave at lunch hour when the German women who also worked in the factory left for the day. The SS men would line them up for lunch and she decided to fall behind. On July 28, 1943 she had received a pair of plastic sandals while her own clothes were being deloused. Wearing her dress and suit jacket which covered her Jewish star and had money sewn in she fell in line with the German girls. Mali arrived in the Sosnowiec ghetto the following day and found her aunt and uncle. On Sunday, August 1, 1943 the ghetto was liquidated, and the family entered a bunker. Mali feared becoming a burden on her uncle and decided to leave. Her uncle gave her a large sum of money and told her how to leave without being observed. That night Mali escaped through the Christian cemetery which was at the ghetto's border. Mali returned to Chrzanow looking for someone to help her. At the train station she met an acquaintance who asked her what she was doing there, and he took her to his apartment where she washed and stayed a few days. Upon leaving he gave her some ration cards to use. Mali took a train to Katowice and entered a restaurant filled with Germans. She saw a newspaper that said that the Americans had bombed Hamburg. She decided to go to Germany to work as she realized that males were sent to the front and labor would be needed. She bought a ticket to Breslau and went to the Red Cross and then was brought to the Police in the train station. She claimed to be Margot Frei from Hamburg and said she was seeking work as a maid. The Gestapo held Mali for one night and then sent her to a hotel for refugees where she received a room, a bath and three meals a day. Local women could engage a maid if their husband was on the front. The seamstress Elfriede Kriesse hired her. Mali lived with her and her daughter Gerda for the remainder of the war. On August 26, 1943, Elfriede went with her to obtain working papers and other necessary documents. Elfriede opposed the regime and behaved like a mother to Mali; she even wanted to adopt her. At one point Mali was told that she had to report to the labor office and return to Hamburg to help clean up the city. Elfriede refused to let her go. She managed to obtain a release for her even paying a doctor to issue a statement saying she was not healthy enough to go.

    After the war Mali stayed in Kibbutz Buchenwald and then immigrated to Palestine to join a kibbutz in present day Netzer Sereni. She was the only survivor of her family.
    Record last modified:
    2013-06-19 00:00:00
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