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Women sort linens in the Bamberg displaced persons camp.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 36285

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    Women sort linens in the Bamberg displaced persons camp.
    Women sort linens in the Bamberg displaced persons camp.


    Women sort linens in the Bamberg displaced persons camp.
    Circa 1945 - 1947
    Bamberg, [Bavaria; Franconia] Germany
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Fran Oz

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Fran Oz
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2014.446.1

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Frances Oz (born Frieda Zynstein) was born on June 12, 1942 in Zhmerinka (Vinnitsa/ Ukraine/ USSR). She is the daughter of Solomon (Shloime) Zynstein (b. Lublin) and Rachla nee Kupitz (b. Krasnobrod). Solomon was an only child from a broken home. He attended the Folkshule in Lublin, but once his mother could no longer care for him, she placed him in an orphanage. After his cousins threatened to go on a hunger strike until he got out, his aunt and uncle brought him to live with them. Some years later, his aunt and uncle moved to Palestine, and Solomon joined a kibbutz hachshara in Plonsk. He worked as a tailor but also earned money traveling from town to town reciting Yiddish poetry. During one of his recitals, he met Rachla Kupnitz from Krasnabrod. Rachla was the oldest of seven children. Her father had immigrated to the United Sates in the 1920s. He had intended to bring his family over, but though he obtained visas for the family, he only succeeded in moving one son, Shimon, to the States before the start of World War II. Ruchla, her mother Mirsha, and the other five siblings remained in Europe.

    After Ruchla and Solomon married in 1939, he became the de facto head of the Kupnitz family. At the start of World War II, in 1939 the entire family escaped Poland and came to Zhmerinka in Romanian occupied Ukraine (Transnistria). After a year, the family was sent to the Brailov. Though only eight kilometers away, this second ghetto was under German administration. Soon afterwards, Ruchla gave birth to a boy David who died in infancy from malnutrition. She became pregnant again in 1941. In Brailov Romania Solomon worked in a tailoring workshop, and Ruchla's sister Hanna Kupitz worked as a maid for an SS officer. In the spring of 1942, both Hanna and Solomon heard from their employers that the Germans intended to conduct a round-up of pregnant women and children. Solomon helped his pregnant wife escape and return to Zhmerinka, still under Romanian control. Adolph Herschmann, the head of the Jewish community, let her stay but made her promise to name the child in memory of his mother Frieda. Frieda Zynstein was born on June 12, 1942. The rest of the Kupitz family also returned to Zhmerinka. When Frieda was only a few weeks old, the Germans held another selection. The Zynstein family was spared. A Romanian Jewish woman, named Adele Huber, was able to hide Frieda since Romanian citizens were exempt from deportation. However, Ruchla's siblings, Chana, Bina and Avrum and her mother Mirsha were taken out of the ghetto and killed. Two brothers survived; Shloime was a shoemaker and working for the Germans and was spared, and another brother Shaya was out looking for food during the round-up. After that life calmed down in Zhmerinka. The ghetto even was permitted to engage in cultural activities, and Solomon started a Yiddish theater in the ghetto. They Zynsteins remained there until their liberation by the Red Army.

    The family spent two weeks in Lvov looking unsuccessfully for surviving relatives. and then moved to the Bamberg displaced persons camp in the American zone of Germany. Solomon worked as a photo journalist for the publication Unzer Wort and went to Nuremberg to cover the International Military Tribunal. He also established a Yiddish Theater in the camp. In 1946, Ruchla gave birth to another daughter Mira. In 1947 they left Germany to come to the United States on the troop ship the Ernie Pyle. The ship developed engine trouble in the middle of the Atlantic. The passengers transferred to a life raft until an Italian boat picked them up and transported them the rest of the way to New York. Solomon Zynstein became president of the American Federation of Jewish Fighters, Camp Inmates and Nazi Victims, and in 1978 President Carter appointed him to the President's Commission on the Holocaust.
    Record last modified:
    2014-10-30 00:00:00
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