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Ita Keller holds her doll while in hiding during the war.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 04949

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    Ita Keller holds her doll while in hiding during the war.
    Ita Keller holds her doll while in hiding during the war.


    Ita Keller holds her doll while in hiding during the war.
    Circa 1943
    Lvov, [Ukraine; Lvov] Poland
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Itta Keller Ben Haiem

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Itta Keller Ben Haiem
    Source Record ID: HCC II

    Keywords & Subjects

    Photo Designation
    RESCUERS & RESCUED -- Poland

    Administrative Notes

    Itta Ben Haiem (born Itta Keller) is the daughter of Shlomo and Sara Ginsburg. She was born in Lvov, the closest hospital to her shtetl, Stary Sambor, on July 2, 1939. Shlomo worked there in a hardware store owned by his father, Shimon Keller. The family lived with Sara's mother, Rivka Ginsburg, and had a home with a large cellar that they used to hide Jewish refugees who were fleeing to the Soviet Union in the fall of 1939. Sara's sister, Fanny, worked in a chocolate factory in Lvov before the war where she became friendly with a co-worker, Tadeusz Kobylko. After the Germans took control of the region in 1941, Fanny came home to visit her sister in Stary Sambor and got caught in an Aktion. Fanny ran away and by chance met Tadeusz in a field. He offered to shelter Fanny as his wife in his home in Lvov. Tadeusz and Fanny were married by a priest who gave her false papers, but the couple had to move on more than one occasion when neighbors suspected that she was Jewish. Tadeusz also promised to help Sara if conditions worsened. In August 1942, the Germans conducted a round up of the Jews of Stary Sambor. Before the deportation, Sara sent a message to Tadeusz that "uncle is very sick". This was a prearranged code for him to come and rescue Itta. She was hidden in the cellar with food and drink. Sara and her mother Rivka Ginsburg were deported to Belzec where they perished. Shlomo's fate remained unknown. Tadeusz came to Stary Sambor and retrieved the little girl. He wrapped her in blankets and carried her out as if she was a package. On the way back to Lvov, Ukrainian guards with dogs chased him, and he had to jump into a lake, holding Itta aloft, so that the scent of the dogs would be thrown off. For the remainder of the war, Itta lived with her aunt, Tadeusz and their son Adam as their daughter under the name Irena Kobylko. During the war Tadeusz worked for the Polish railroads so that he could get information to help the underground. After the family was liberated on April 14, 1944, the Russians arrested Tadeusz and accused him of being a collaborator because of his work for the railroads. Only the testimony of Fanny secured his release. Tadeusz offered to convert to Judaism and attempted to leave for Palestine with Fanny and the two children, but he was not able to get a visa and permission to travel. Fanny and the children left Poland with Rabbi Herzog's children's transport and never saw Tadeusz again. They came to France and lived for a year in the village of Schirmeck before sailing to Palestine in October 1947 on board the Providence. Fanny setteled in Tel Aviv but wasn't able to support the children and was forced to place Itta and Adam in boarding schools. Not receiving support from her family who was already in Israel, Fanny had to struggle until the end of her life in 1992. Itta and Adam married and live in Israel. Tadeusz Kobylko remarried and had three children. Yad Vashem recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations. He died in 1975.
    Record last modified:
    2014-03-28 00:00:00
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