In Attire
Relationship: Im/migrant
The jacket made by my aunts
The jacket made by my aunts

My grandmother raised the three girls and my uncle Simon. He was the only son. They all had to learn a trade, so the two sisters, Ròzia and Balbina, learned to be seamstresses and my uncle Simon learned to be a locksmith. My mother at 15 was too young to learn a trade, so she and her older sisters became salesgirl. Lace, table clothes, and curtains. They would go town to town and sell them. My mother would get fabric from Paris and styles from Chanel. This jacket has the little stones on the bottom similar to the Chanel trademark. My mother used to tell us they were the best dressed people in town. I was around three when the war broke out and they cleared the town of Kalisz of Jewish people.  When my mother and I ran away from the ghetto I was eight because they had lists of the mothers and children for transport. At that time we knew that the first transport all went to Belzec and they were immediately gassed upon arrival. My mother went back after our transport left to say goodbye to her sisters. Her sister Ròzia asked her to take her daughter with her, but she told her she couldn’t as she wasn’t sure she could even take care of me. Ròzia, Balbina, and my cousin Belusia were all eventually sent to transport. 750,000 women, children, and elderly were killed at Belzec. Somehow my mother was able to save one suit- a blazer and a skirt, and this jacket with her.  

Place(s): Kalisz, Poland
Year: 1951

– Rose

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant