Sewing machine

Relationship: Im/migrant

My great grandfather, Mikhail Gandelsman, lived in Poland before world war II. At 13 he was sent away for a 3 year training to become an expert tailor. When he was 21, Germans occupied Poland. On September 17th, 1941 his family had awoken to a massacre (pogrom). That fateful night, 6,000 Jews were murdered by Germans, 46 of them were his relatives, including his mother and 6 siblings. He started working as a tailor in the Jewish ghetto. On November 11, a Ukrainian officer recruited by Germans had come to fix a coat. He told Mikhail that the coat must be ready by Saturday. On Saturday the coat was ready and the officer was pleased. The next morning the second pogrom had started. 3,000 people, including Mikhail, were captured by Germans and were taken to be executed. They were put in a line and one by one approached a grave, undressed, were shot and fell into the grave. On November 14th 1941, as Mikhail approached, he was pulled out of the line and Germans told him that he will be spared and tailor in the ghetto until he is not needed anymore. He had no family, no friends, and no belongings only his skill. He continued tailoring for the Germans until the end of German occupation. Being a tailor helped him survive the war, and it became his job after the war. He became a director of design in a local sewing factory. He had 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren. Therefore, if Mikhail was not a tailor, I and every relative I know would not been here today.

Year: 1992

– Jonathan Fainberg

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant