My grandma’s Holocaust story

Genevieve, my grandma, and a neighbor
Genevieve, my grandma, and a neighbor

My grandmother, Lucia, was 2 years old when WW2 broke out. Her parents knew that they would need to protect her at whatever costs because they were Jewish. My great-grandmother, Adele had tried to get my grandma to flee on a boat to the US but her money was stolen. Now practically broke, my great-grandparents placed her into the care of a Polish Catholic couple in a desperate attempt to save her. Adele had become very close with her dress-maker, Genevieve so she decided to ask if she would take my grandmother in and protect her. She agreed and my grandma was given a new identity. Over the next 15 years, she helped to raise my grandmother and became a mother figure to her. She walked miles just to get my grandma a loaf of bread for school.  They didn’t have that much money so my grandma slept on straw bed. When she was about 6, my grandma found out she was Jewish when a cousin of hers reached out and told everybody her secret. By then, the war was over but most people still had a hatred towards Jews, especially when they suddenly learn one has been living “among us”. For years after, she was bullied for being Jewish and had to walk through the cemetery to get home so she wouldn't get taunted. Even her landlord, who had always been so nice to her and given her lollipops, threw a brick at her head when he found out she was Jewish. She went to Church and was Catholic since that’s all she had known but she was also the only Jew left in her hometown. Unfortunately, both of her birth parents did not make it and we only have one photo of her mother (none of her father).

Place(s): Poland, and Israel

– GE

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant