Renia: A Holocaust Memoir
Table of Contents

Here I am at work at the hydro-electric company.

Here I am at work at the hydro-electric company.

We had get-togethers organized by the Jewish committee at a little resort in the mountains; it was very nice. We had dances there and I’d meet Jewish boys from Jelenia Góra and other Polish towns. On October 15, 1946, at the wedding of my friends Hanka and Izio Reiser, I met my future husband, a handsome and serious man named Jacob Leon Feldman. At that time, I was dating a boy from another town whom I’d met at one of the gatherings organized by the Jewish committee. We’d see each other occasionally. Leon, too, had been seeing someone else. He and I sat together all evening at the wedding, talking, and at the end of the evening, he asked if he could take me home. I liked him and said yes. That’s how it started.

On Leon’s BMW around the time we were married.

On Leon's BMW around the time we were married.

We began dating and soon we were seeing each other almost every day. We’d go riding on his motorcycle, a large BMW. Or we’d go dancing or to a night club or to the movies. Sometimes we’d visit his aunt, Mindla Rozencweig, and her two daughters, Dora and Lida, who came from the same town he did, Skarzysko. He’d persuaded them to move to Jelenia Góra from Katowice so he — and they — would have family. He needed family, he told them.

Leon’s father, Ephraim Feldman, had been born in Skarzysko in 1894; his mother, Ester, née Sherman, had been born in 1902, in Ostrowiec. Leon’s grandparents on his father’s side, Josek and Cyrla Feldman, lived in Skarzysko-Kamienna. Abus and Cyrla Sherman, his mother’s parents, lived in Ostrowiec. His parents had married in 1922, and Leon, their eldest child, was born on December 5, 1923.

Leon's parents.

Leon's parents.

When Leon was quite small — his mother was pregnant with his brother Morris at the time — his father, like so many others, went to America, in his case to Colombia, to try to make some money. He was there for several years and must have been successful because, by 1939, the family was very well-to-do. They ran a large building-and-electrical-supplies store in Skarzysko-Kamienna and had other business interests too. Three more children had been born following his return from Colombia. When the war began, Leon was almost sixteen, Morris thirteen and his two younger brothers, Josek and Haskiel, and his sister, Bluma, approximately seven, six and five years of age respectively.

When the Germans entered Skarzysko in September 1939, they confiscated the Feldman businesses and made everyone wear the yellow star. The Germans took over the ammunition works — hasag — in Skarzysko and forced Leon and Morris to work there. At first the brothers were allowed to go home at night but beginning in January 1940, they had to live at the ammunition works. That same year, the rest of the family was ordered into barracks in the Skarzysko Ghetto.

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