Raul with his parents Paula and Joseph Teitelbaum.
Photograph | Photograph Number: 07717
- Prizren, [Kosovo] Albania
- Photo Credit
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Raoul Teitelbaum
Raul with his parents Paula and Joseph Teitelbaum.
- Raul Teitelbaum is the son of Paula Weiselberg (b. 1903, Kozmiezn) and Joseph Teitelbaum (b. 1890 in Budzanov, Galicia). He was born on December 13, 1931 in Prizren, (Kosovo and Metohija district of Serbia). His father studied in a yeshiva until the age of fourteen and then attended gymnasium in Brody and medical school in Vienna. He served in the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I. In 1922 he moved to Prizren to become the physician of the army garrison and later the municipal doctor of the town and its surroundings. During a visit to Vienna he met his future wife Paula Weiselberg, who returned to Prizren with him. They were the only Jews in the town. They soon became friendly with the attorney Dragutin Jakic. Raul called Dragutin "Uncle Dragi" and his wife "Aunt Nela". Their daughter Biserka, one year younger than Raul was like a sister to him.
Jakic and Teitelbaum were mobilized at the start of World War II. Jakic was captured and spent the rest of the war in a P.O.W camp. His wife and two daughters remained at home. Dr. Teitelbaum managed to avoid being taken a prisoner and returned to Prizren. However, the Italians arrested him and sent him to a camp near Preza, Albania where he remained until Italy capitulated in September 1943. He served as a doctor in the camp. His son, Raul was allowed to visit his father in Preza, but his wife was not permitted.
After Dr. Teitelbaum's arrest, the authorities harassed his wife and son. They were submitted to various investigations and evicted from their home. Ana Jakic offered to take them in knowing full well that it was forbidden to hide Jews. Ana also offered to hide the Teitelbaums savings consisting of 150 gold Napeolons, at the bottom of a well in her basement. The Teitelbaums gave all of their precious documents including Joseph's medical diploma, pre-war photographs and a hand written manuscript that Joseph had written on the revolt of Jews in the Roman era to a neighbor for safe keeping.
Although Raul was quite young, he assisted he partisans. In 1941 he joined an underground group that collected money, distributed leaflets, occasionally stole weapons from the Italians and participated in minor sabotages. Since it was not safe to do so in such a small town where everyone knew him, he and his mother Paula left for a village near Peza where his father was interned. In 1943 after the capitulation of Italy all of the family joined the Albanian partisans in the fight against the German occupying forces. Everyone who was in the camp almost 500 prisoners joined the partisans and started a unit in the mountains. Dr. Teitelbaum took care of the wounded, but in 1944 his health deteriorated. The family returned to Prizren and again stayed with the Jakics. But this time the situation was more dangerous as the Germans were in town and there were collaborators amongst the population. Raul contacted partisans who began to prepare a shelter for the family, but only ten days after they returned to town, members of the SS entered the apartment at dawn and shoved them into a truck taking them to a location in Pristina where 350 Jews who had lived in Kosovo, Metohija and Montengro were being held. They were all sent to Sajmiste, a Nazi run camp in Zemun near Belgrade where 8000 Jews had been gassed a year before. After some six weeks they were deported to Bergen-Belsen. As the war wound down, the Teitelbaums were evacuated on what became known as the "Lost Train." After twelve days, the train came to a halt in the town of Troebitz where Red Army soldiers found them and liberated them on April 23, 1944. His mother was suffering from typhus but recovered. His father was less fortunate and died three days after liberation. Raul with the help of some Russian soldiers buried his father and marked the grave with a board.
After their recuperation, Raul and his mother returned to Prizren where Nela was overjoyed that they had survived the horrors of the war. Nela's husband also returned. Raul and his mother retrieved the gold coins and later moved to Belgrade where they also received his father's pension. Raul finished high school in Belgrade. In1946 he was honored in Yugoslavia where he received a "Fighter's medal" for his role in fighting against the Nazis. In 1951 he and his mother immigrated to Israel where his mother's sister was living prior to the war. Raul went to a kibbutz and then served in the army, later attending the Hebrew University where he met his future wife Aliza Eizen, also a Holocaust survivor. He became a well known journalist and is active in Holocaust education.
In 2001 Ana Jakic was awarded the "Righteous of All Nations" medal by Yad Vashem. She lived until the age of 96 and died in Zagreb in 2007. Raul is still in touch with her daughters Bizerka and Ivana.
- Photo Source
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumProvenance: Raoul Teitelbaum
Record last modified: 2013-06-20 00:00:00
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