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Postwar photo of Danka Perelmuter and friends in Krynica.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 74544

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    Postwar photo of Danka Perelmuter and friends in Krynica.
    Postwar photo of Danka Perelmuter and friends in Krynica.

    Overview

    Caption
    Postwar photo of Danka Perelmuter and friends in Krynica.
    Date
    1947
    Locale
    Krynica, [Carpathian Mountains; Krakow] Poland
    Variant Locale
    Krynica Zdroj
    Bad Krynica
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Wendy Shade and Sophia Wolkowicz

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Wendy Shade and Sophia Wolkowicz

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Biography
    Danka Perelmuter (later Dyna Reichental, the mother of the donors) was the daughter of Joseph and Zofia Perelmuter. She was born in Bodzanow, Poland on December 11, 1921. She had seven siblings: Rifka, Avrum, Chajcza (Chaya), Fishel (Felix), Ruza (Shoshana). Shimshon (Sam), Danka and Benjamin. Rifka and Ruza moved to Palestine before the war. Fishel was married, and Benjamin was in the Polish army. Only Danka and Chajcza still lived at home when the war broke out. In 1940 the family was driven out from their home in Bodzanow to the Czestochowa ghetto. Danka, her parents and sister were given one small room of a two room apartment. The ghetto was ruled under strict regulation by Germans, but Zisl's relatives, the Srebrnik family, sent them extra food and also found a job for Danka outside the ghetto carrying parcels of toys to different destinations. Within the ghetto Jews set up a marketplace and sold their belongings to Poles. While bartering Josef Perelmuter met Mrs. Bozkowa, who brought the family what she could and offered to help hide Danka if needed. Following the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, rumors spread that Czestochowa would soon be liquidated as well. The final liquidation action took place in 1943 and lasted for two weeks. The Perelmuter's street was the last one emptied. Under armed escort, the family marched to Horowicz place where they were separated. Danka worked as a slave laborer in the Pelcowizna munitions factory, later renamed HASAG. She never saw her mother or sister again and later learned they were sent to Treblinka.

    While working at HASAG, Danka met her cousin Rachel Majzlisz; together planned an escape from the camp. Sadly though Mrs. Bozkowa could no longer assist as her brother, a member of the Polish underground, was arrested on weapons charges and deported. However, two Polish sisters, Celina and Natalia Markowska, who also worked in the camp, offered to help. They lived with their mother Maria right next to the railway line in a small apartment with trapdoor to the attic. They also got Danka an identification card from a deceased girl roughly her same age. They attached Danka's photo and took fingerprint, and she assumed the identity of Zofia Suska. One day in 1944 Mrs. Markowska received an anonymous letter threatening her if she didn't "get rid of the alien person." Mrs. Markowska gave her a colorful cloak worn by countrywomen and told her to find a job outside the city. Danka saw an advertisement for a girl to provide housework on a small farm in Olsztyn. The farm was owned by an elderly woman who needed help fetching water from a neighbor's well and milking the cow. With her assumed identity, it was mandatory that she attend mass regularly. For the next year, Danka worked on the farm. She even became friendly with a girl named Krysia Zalewska whose father had been a schoolmaster. He had been deported by the Germans, but Krysia lent his books to Danka. By 1945 rumors spread that the Germans were retreating and the Russians were on their way. This was confirmed one night when she heard a knocks at the window and former German soldiers trying to hide their ranks shouting for bread. Shortly after this the Russians arrived. After hearing that a Jewish Committee had been reestablished in Czestochowa, Danka returned to the city to search for friends and family. Though she learned that some of her friends had survived, she heard nothing of her family. One day she received news that relatives in Warsaw had enquired about her family in Czestochowa. Danka reunited with them in 1946. They helped her find an apartment, and she eventually enrolled in a telecommunication college. After completing her studies, she began working in the Praga post office where she met her husband Moishe (Marian) Reichental (born June 25, 1916 in Lezajsk, Poland) in 1951. In 1952 she gave birth to a daughter named Zofia. In 1959 the family immigrated to Canada where their second daughter Wendy was born. Here her husband took classes in radiology and worked as an X-ray technician at the Jewish General Hospital for 25 years. Danka worked here as well and both retired, all the while keeping in touch with their friends from the war.

    Though Danka survived the Holocaust, both of her parents, her sister Chaya, brother Fishel with his wife and son died in Treblinka in 1941. Also her brother Avrum perished in Warsaw in 1943. Shimshon survived in the Soviet Union and Benjamin survived with the Polish army.
    Record last modified:
    2014-11-13 00:00:00
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