(p.207) Appendix Major Participants in the Jewish Historical Commissions and Documentation Centers
(p.207) Appendix Major Participants in the Jewish Historical Commissions and Documentation Centers
This list of short biographies includes a majority of the most prominent individuals active in the Jewish historical commissions in France, Poland, Germany, Austria, and Italy. The biographies are necessarily fragmentary because of a paucity of information. Few of these activists appear in bibliographical references. Academic Holocaust studies did not recognize their work, nor did they hold public office in Europe, the United States, or Israel. Information is especially scarce for the many female commission workers. Even basic dates or births and deaths are missing for some, and often the details of wartime survival in particular remain unclear.1
Aminado, Don (Aminad Petrovich, Aminadov Peisakhovitch Shpoliansky) (1888–1957): Russian Jewish poet and satirist, born in Elizavetgrad in the Kherson Province of the Russian Empire to a lower-middle-class family. Trained in law at the University of Odessa, he came to France in 1920 and contributed as a journalist to the Tribune Juive in Paris (1920–1924). In the 1920s and 1930s he became a popular figure in the Russian (Jewish) émigré community and beyond and was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1935 for his cultural activities. After surviving the Second World War in Montpellier and Aix-les-Bains, he joined the CDJC staff in Paris in 1945.
Asz, Menachem (Marek): Founding member and first secretary of the Jewish historical commission in Lublin in the summer of 1944 and a communist member of the Central Committee of Polish Jews. In 1946 he left Poland for the DP camps in the U.S. Zone of Germany, where he was active in the Frankfurt branch of the Central Historical Commission in Munich.
Auerbach, Rachel (1903–1976): Born in Łanowce, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Ukraine; family moved to Lvov, where Auerbach studied psychology and philosophy and became active as a journalist and editor of the (p.208) Yiddish literary journal Tsushtayer in Lvov. In 1933 she moved to Warsaw, where she published in the Yiddish and Polish press on literary and educational topics. In September 1939, Emanuel Ringelblum invited her to help organize soup kitchens in Warsaw; in 1941 he recruited her for his secret Oyneg Shabes archive, where she contributed a study on soup kitchens and the fight against hunger in the ghetto and recorded the testimony of a Treblinka escapee in 1942. In March 1943 she fled the Warsaw ghetto and survived on the “Aryan side” under a false identity. While working as a courier for the Jewish underground, she recorded her experiences in essays and a diary. After the liberation, Auerbach was active in the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland. She immigrated to Israel in 1950 and in 1954 became head of Yad Vashem’s oral history department. She was instrumental in choosing the Jewish witnesses for the Eichmann trial and appeared as a witness herself.
Bakalczuk (Felin), Mejlech (1896–1960): Born in Sernik, Polesia, then in the Russian Empire, today in Belarus. Bakalczuk studied at the University of Kiev and prior to the Second World War worked as a teacher at Hebrew and Yiddish schools in Bogoduchov, Dombrovitz and Pinsk and as an author of literary and pedagogic texts. He survived the war as a partisan in Soviet Union and began collecting documents on his own. Briefly settling in Lvov after the war, Bakalczuk soon moved to Poland, where he was a founding member of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lublin. He also contributed to Dos Naye Lebn in Lodz. In late 1945 he left Poland for the U.S. Zone of Austria. In the Bindermichl DP camp near Linz, he founded a historical commission and a school for DP children; he also was the editor of Ojfgang. In October 1947, Bakalczuk left for Palestine, donating his collection to Yad Vashem. In 1948 he immigrated to South Africa, where he died in Johannesburg.
Bakalczuk, Neche, née Tabachowicz (1908–1953): Born in Kaltinėnai, then in the Russian Empire, now in Lithuania; teacher and Poale Zion activist. After surviving the Stutthof concentration camp, she briefly stayed in Lodz, before leaving for the DP camps in the U.S. Zone of Austria in 1946. In the Bindermichl DP camp she married Mejlech Bakalczuk and became the secretary of the historical commission as well as the editorial secretary of Ojfgang. She was also active in building Jewish schools in the camp. With her husband, she left for Palestine in 1947 and the following year immigrated to South Africa, where she died in Johannesburg.
Bauer, André (1904–1943): Born in Paris to a respected family of rabbis and communal leaders; trained as a rabbi and banker. In the 1930s he was the president of the Rue Copernic reform community in Paris. Bauer played a formative role in the establishment in 1941 of the Union Générale des Israélites de France (UGIF), whose vice president he served as, in the hope that a central representative body would be able to mitigate the anti-Jewish actions of the Vichy government. In July (p.209) 1943 the Gestapo arrested him; that December he was deported to Auschwitz and murdered, together with his wife and four children.
Bauminger, Leon (Arie) (1913–2002): Born in Krakow; earned a doctorate from the University of Warsaw. Bauminger was a founding member of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lublin and its first secretary. In 1947 he immigrated to Palestine, where he worked as a high school teacher and was active in Holocaust education and commemoration. After 1949 he worked for the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture and in 1960 became administrative director of Yad Vashem.
Bernheim, Léonce (1886–1944): Born in France; a lawyer and director of the French ORT prior to the Second World War. A Zionist, Bernheim served as honorary president of the Zionist Youth Movement (MJS) and was a founding member of CDJC in Grenoble. He died at Auschwitz in December 1944.
Billig, Joseph (Ossip) (1901–1994): Born in St. Petersburg; after fleeing the Russian Revolution for Germany in 1917, he received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Berlin in 1929. With the Nazi rise to power, he left Germany for France, where he fought as a volunteer in the French Army. Captured by the Germans in June 1940, Billig spent five years in a POW camp in Danzig, where he was liberated by Soviet troops in April 1945. As a researcher at the CDJC and its representative at the Nuremberg trials, he copied several thousand documents relating to the Jews of France from the archives of the International Military Tribunal and the American Military Tribunal in 1946–1949.
Bitter, Marek (1902–1965): Survivor of the Warsaw ghetto and the Majdanek extermination camp and founder and first director of the historical commission in Lublin. As a communist politician, Bitter also served as secretary-general of the Central Committee of Polish Jews.
Blumental, Nachman (1905–1983): Born in Borszczów, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in Ukraine; earned a master’s degree in literature from the University of Warsaw; a teacher in Lublin until the outbreak of the Second World War. Blumental survived the war in hiding in Poland. He joined the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lublin and became the first director of the Jewish Historical Institute in the years 1947–1948. In 1950 he left for Israel, where he was affiliated with the Ghetto Fighters House and editor of its periodical Dapim le-Heker ha-Shoah ve-ha-Mered, as well as a researcher at Yad Vashem and editor of Yediot Yad Vashem.
Borwicz (Borochowicz), Michał Maksymilian (1911–1987): Born in Krakow; studied Polish literature at the University of Krakow; a writer and journalist; (p.210) affiliated with the Poale Zion movement. After the German invasion he escaped to Soviet-controlled eastern Poland and settled in Lvov. Following the German occupation of Lvov at the end of June 1941, Borwicz was interned in the Janowska camp. In 1943 he escaped and commanded Polish socialist partisan units in the Jewish underground in Krakow. After the liberation he became the director of the Krakow branch of the Central Jewish Historical Commission. In 1947 Borwicz left for France, where he was director of the Centre d’Étude d’Histoire des Juifs Polonais in Paris between 1947 and 1952. In 1954 he received a doctorate in sociology from the Sorbonne.
Eber, Ada Adolfina (also Obler or Friedman): Born in Lvov, Galicia, now in Ukraine; received a doctorate in history from the University of Lvov. Eber survived in hiding in Lvov, where she had worked as a high school teacher. After the war she was active in the Central Jewish Historical Commission and married Philip Friedman. In 1946, with her husband, she left Poland and immigrated to the United States via the U.S. Zone of Germany and France in 1948.
Eisenbach, Artur (Ahron) (1906–1992): Born in Nowy Sącz, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Poland; studied at the Academy of Commerce in Krakow, the Jewish Teachers’ Seminary in Vilna, and the Universities of Krakow and Warsaw (German and history). In 1935 he became a YIVO aspirant (trainee). At the University of Warsaw he was part of a young generation of Jewish historians around Meier Bałaban and Marceli Handelsman and part of the Yunger Historiker Krayz led by Raphael Mahler and Emanuel Ringelblum (whose sister he married). After surviving the war in the Soviet Union (while his wife and child were murdered by the Germans in Buczacz in 1942), he returned to Poland in May 1946 and became a member of the Warsaw branch of the Central Jewish Historical Commission. He remained in Poland and was affiliated with the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, as head of the archives and as a researcher, as well as institute director in the years 1966–1968. He immigrated to Israel one year before his death.
Elberg, Jehuda (1912–2003): Born in Zgierz (near Lodz), then in the Russian Empire, today in Poland; trained as a rabbi, he also studied textile engineering and became a master weaver in Lodz. As part of the Jewish Fighting Organization, Elberg survived the Warsaw ghetto. After the liberation he was among the founders of the historical commission. A cofounder of the Jewish Writers’ Union, Elberg was also a member of the Central Committee and the editorial board of Dos Naye Lebn, where he served as editorial secretary in 1944–1945. In 1946 he left for France, serving there as editorial secretary of Kiyoum. In 1948 Elberg immigrated to the United States, where he worked as a writer, social worker, and labor activist.
Feigenbaum, Moshe Yosef (Mojżesz Józef Fajgenbaum, Moyshe Yosef Faygenboym) (1908–1986): Born in Biała Podlaska, then in the Russian Empire, (p.211) today in Poland; trained as an accountant. During the Second World War he survived the ghettos of Biała Podlaska and Międzyrzec Podlaski, escaped execution in 1942, and one year later escaped from a transport to Treblinka. For the rest of the war Feigenbaum hid in a bunker in Biała, where he began to write about the life of Jews under the Nazi regime. After the liberation he was affiliated with the historical commission in Lublin. In the fall of 1945 he left Poland for the U.S. Zone of Germany and cofounded the Central Historical Commission in Munich. In 1949 he immigrated to Israel.
Feldschuh-Safrin, Ruven (Ben-Shem) (1900–1980): Born in Buczacz, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Ukraine; earned a doctorate in philosophy and psychology from the University of Vienna. Affiliated with Hashomer Hatsair and later with Revisionism, Feldschuh-Safrin went to Palestine in 1919, where he was a member of the Jewish National Council. In the 1920s he returned to Europe, where he worked as a journalist. After surviving the war in Warsaw, he was active in the historical commission and the Jewish Writers’ Union in Lublin. In 1945 he left for Palestine.
Fink, Jacques (Jacob-Israel Finkelstein) (1894–1955): Born in Novgorod-Seversk, then in the Russian Empire, today in Ukraine; journalist and engineer. He left for France in 1918 and was naturalized in 1930. Fink was active in the Poale Zion movement and in the immigrant organization Fédération des Sociétés Juives en Frace; he was also the president of the Association des Journalistes et Écrivains Juifs de France. After the liberation he became affiliated with the CDJC and was the editor of Le Monde Juif.
Friedman, Philip (1901–1960): Born in Lvov, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Ukraine. Friedman studied modern history at the University of Vienna, where in 1925 he received a doctoral degree for his dissertation, “The Struggle of the Galician Jews for their Equality, 1848–1868.” From 1925 to 1939 he taught history in the high school of the Association of Jewish Schools in Lodz, and in 1938–1939 he also lectured at the Institute for Jewish Studies in Warsaw on the economic and social history of Polish Jews in the nineteenth century. After the German invasion of Poland he returned to Soviet-occupied Lvov. In 1940–1941 he was a senior researcher at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and headed the department of industry in the Institute of Economics. After the German occupation of Lvov in late June 1941 and the establishment of the ghetto there in December, Friedman and his wife and thirteen-year-old daughter moved in with Friedman’s parents. After Friedman’s wife and daughter were murdered in 1942, he went into hiding on the “Aryan side” until the liberation of the city by the Red Army in July 1944. In November 1944, as part of the repatriation of Polish citizens from the formerly Polish territories annexed by the Soviet Union, Friedman went to Lublin. In December 1944 he founded the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lublin, serving as its first director. In the summer of 1946 he left (p.212) Poland for a brief sojourn in Paris, where he collaborated with the CDJC, then went to the U.S. Zone of Germany, where in September 1946 he became head of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Education and Culture Department in Munich. In 1948, after another brief stay in Paris, where he was affiliated with the CDJC, Friedman left Germany for the United States, where he became a lecturer in Jewish history at Columbia University and head of the Jewish Teachers’ Institute in New York City. He was also affiliated with YIVO in New York and directed the compilation of a bibliography of Holocaust writings.
Frydman, Towia (Tuviah Friedman, Tobias Friedmann) (1922–2010): Born in Radom, Poland, to a middle-class family. He survived the city’s ghetto and the Szkolna Street labor camp, which he escaped from in 1944. Posing as a gentile, he survived in the woods until the liberation in mid-January 1945. In the following months, Frydman arrested and interrogated suspected German war criminals for the Polish Ministry of Public Security in Gdańsk. In early 1946 he left Poland for Austria, where he directed a documentation center in Vienna. In 1952 he immigrated to Israel, where he continued to collect testimonies and briefly worked for Yad Vashem. In 1957 Frydman opened the Documentation Center for Nazi War Criminals in Haifa.
Fuchsman, Helen (née Radoszycka) (?–1993): Born in Warsaw; received a secular high school education and worked in her mother’s business until she married in 1935. Fuchsman survived the Vilna ghetto, and after its liquidation she lived under a false identity together with her husband and young son. In 1945 she left Poland for the U.S. Zone of Austria, where she was active in the Jewish historical commission in Linz. In 1948 she immigrated to the United States.
Glaeser, Léo (1887–1944): Born in Riga; immigrated to France in 1907; trained as a lawyer. A key Fédération des Sociétés Juives de France (FSJF) activist since before the war, Glaeser worked with the Comité rue Amelot in Paris, which coordinated Jewish relief work in the face of the occupation. After escaping to the Southern Zone, in 1943 he became secretary-general of the FSJF and of the Comité général de défense. Glaeser was a founding member of the CDJC in Grenoble. In June 1944, he was arrested and shot by the Milice in Lyon.
Glube, Shmuel: Born in Turek, then in the Russian Empire, today in Poland; bookkeeper by training; communal activist before the war. Glube survived the Lodz ghetto and several camps in Poland. After his liberation near Lodz in January 1945, he worked with the Central Jewish Historical Commission, but left Poland in September 1945 for the U.S. Zone of Germany, where he was a founder and key activist of the Central Historical Commission in Munich. Glube immigrated to the United States in February 1948.
(p.213) Godart, Justin (1871–1956): Born in Lyon and trained as a lawyer. During the Third Republic, Godart, a leader in the Radical Socialist Party, served as mayor of Lyon, senator of the Rhône Department, minister of labor, and minister of public health. Although not Jewish, Godart was sympathetic to the ideas of Zionism and founded the Franco-Palestine Committee in the interwar years. During the war he extended his help to Jewish resistance fighters, as well as to individual Jews. After the war he became a strong supporter of the CDJC and served as its honorary chairman. Godart also played a seminal role in the CDJC’s campaign for the memorial.
Gottfarstein, Joseph (1902–1980): Born in Pren (Prienai), then in the Russian Empire, today in Lithuania; after attending the Jewish Teachers’ Seminary in Kovno, studied philosophy at the University of Berlin. In 1926 Gottfarstein left for Paris, where he became active in the FSJF and worked as a writer and journalist. After surviving the war in Switzerland, he returned to Paris, where he was affiliated with the CDJC.
Grinberg, Ruven: In 1943, he became, together with Leo Glaeser, a co-leader of the FSJF. Grinberg was also president of the Comité général de défense, an umbrella organization of Jewish resistance fighters in the Southern Zone. He was a founding member of the CDJC.
Grüss (also Gris), Noe-Shloyme (1902–1985): Born in Kiełków, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Poland; teacher training at the University of Krakow; history teacher at secular Zionist Tarbut schools in Lida, Grodno, and Rovno; Yiddish journalist and editor. Grüss survived the war in exile in the Soviet Union and returned to Poland in 1945. He left Poland for Israel in 1947, but in 1952 he moved to Paris, where he worked as a teacher and as head of the Hebrew and Yiddish section of the National Library.
Hermann, Nahum (1899–1944): Born in Shargorod, then in the Russian Empire, today in Ukraine; journalist. An active Zionist, Hermann was a key figure of the Zionist Foundation Fund (Keren ha-Yesod) in France, as well as a founding member of the Grenoble documentation center. In January 1944 he was arrested in Limoges and murdered.
Hirschler, René (1905–1944): Born in Marseille; chief rabbi of Strasbourg and a prominent communal leader of Alsatian Jews before the war. Hirschler played an instrumental role in establishing two social welfare groups: in October 1940, the Commission Centrale des Organisations Juives d’Assistance (CCOJA), an umbrella organization for numerous Jewish welfare organizations, and in early 1942, the Aumônerie Général Israélite, which cared for Jews in French internment camps in the Southern Zone. He was an early supporter of the CDJC in Grenoble. (p.214) Arrested on December 22, 1943, Hirschler, along with his wife, was deported to Auschwitz and murdered in February 1944.
Hertz, Henri (1875–1966): Born to a family of Alsatian Jews in Nogent-sur-Seine; writer, poet, political journalist, and Zionist. He survived the war in the Southern Zone and was affiliated with the Résistance and the CDJC.
Hochberg-Mariańska, Maria (Miriam Hochberg-Peleg): Born on a farm near Krakow. Before the war, Hochberg-Mariańska—who had been too poor for university study—wrote children’s stories and edited the children’s supplement of a Krakow daily. She belonged to the Polish Socialist youth movement. During the German occupation she joined the Polish underground, first in the Krakow ghetto, then outside under a false identity. She also worked for Żegota, the Council for Aid to the Jews. After the war Hochberg-Mariańska worked with the Central Jewish Historical Commission, for which she collected children’s testimonies. She immigrated to Israel in 1949 and worked for Yad Vashem.
Horowic, Cwi (1899–?): Born in Krakow; after a traditional Jewish education, he learned a succession of trades, from the fur trade to plumbing, but practiced none, instead living as an obscure writer. In the 1920s, as an adherent of the Poale Zion movement, Horowic immigrated to Palestine, where he helped establish the Socialist Party (Mifleget Poalim Sotsiyalistim; MPS). The British Mandatory powers soon forced him to leave the country (probably because of the party’s communist connections). He returned to Poland via Turkey, Romania, and Germany (where he briefly studied at the Akademie für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin). For unknown reasons he served an extended prison sentence in Stanisławów. Horowic survived the war in the Soviet Union, where he fought in the Red Army. After returning to Poland, in 1947 he left for the British Zone of Germany, where he founded a historical commission in Göttingen. In 1949 he immigrated to Israel.
Hosiasson, Philippe (pseudonym Jacques Sabille) (1898–1978): Born in Odessa; studied art history and law at the University of Odessa and in Rome; painter and artist. After working as a designer for the Russian ballet in Berlin, Hossiason settled in Paris in 1924. He joined the CDJC after the war.
Kaganovitch (also Kahanovitch), Moshe (1909–?): Born in Ivye, then in the Russian Empire, now in Belarus; journalist for the Tsayt and Vilner Tog and the Warsaw-based Der Moment and Undzer Vort, among other papers. In 1943 he escaped from the Ivye ghetto and became a partisan. Between 1945 and 1949 Kaganowicz lived in Rome as a DP. In 1949 he left for Israel.
Kahn, Gaston (1889–?): Born in Wingersheim in Alsace; communal leader and writer, active in Jewish welfare. Kahn became general director of the Refugee Aid (p.215) Committee (CAR) in 1936, and then succeeded Raymond-Raoul Lambert as head of the UGIF. After surviving the war in hiding, Kahn joined the staff of the CDJC. He was also president of B’nai B’rith France.
Kaplan, Israel (1902–2003): Born in Volozhin, then in the Russian Empire, today in Belarus; master’s degree in history from the University of Kovno, where he also worked as a Hebrew school teacher and a journalist. After surviving the war in the ghettos of Kovno and Riga and the concentration camps Kaiserwald (near Riga) and Dachau, he was liberated by American troops in southern Germany on a death march to Tyrol. Remaining in the U.S. Zone, Kaplan cofounded both the Central Historical Commission in Munich, serving as its director, and the biweekly Yiddish newspaper Undzer Veg. As a journalist he wrote for the DP newspapers and was the editor of Fun Letstn Khurbn. He lost his wife and daughter in the Holocaust but was reunited with his teenage son after the war. In 1949 Kaplan immigrated to Israel, where he worked as an author and teacher.
Kermisz, Joseph (Józef) (1907–2005): Born in Złotniki, Galicia, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Ukraine; in 1937 earned a doctorate in history from the University of Warsaw, under the guidance of Meier Bałaban, with a thesis on the history of Lublin. He was also an affiliate of YIVO’s Warsaw branch. In September 1939 Kermisz escaped to Soviet-occupied eastern Poland, where he worked as a history teacher. After surviving the war in hiding, in June 1944 he joined the Polish army, where he held the rank of captain. Kermisz was among the founders of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lublin in December 1944, and as of 1945 served as the commission’s secretary-general and director of archives. Subsequently the first vice-director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (1947), he left Poland for Israel in 1950. Three years later he became director of Yad Vashem’s archives.
Knout, David (also Dovid Knut; pseudonyms David Miranovitch Fishman, Fichman, or Fixman) (1900–1955): Born to a merchant family in the Bessarabian town of Orgeyev (then in the Russian Empire, today in Moldova), he grew up in Kishinev. In 1920 Knout left for France, where he studied chemical engineering in Caen. Active in the Russian Jewish émigré community in Paris, including its press, he also contributed to the French Jewish press and wrote his own poetry. A committed Revisionist Zionist, he visited Palestine in 1937. Drafted into the French Army in 1939, Knout escaped to the Southern Zone after France’s defeat and settled in Toulouse, where he was active in Jewish armed resistance groups, most notably the Armée Juive after January 1942. After escaping to Switzerland in December 1942, he returned to Paris in the fall of 1944 and became active in the CDJC. In August 1946 Knout became editor of Le Monde Juif. In 1949 he immigrated to Israel.
(p.216) Lambert, Raymond-Raoul (1894–1943): Born in Montmorency, France. As a prominent Jewish public figure and editor of a major French Jewish newspaper, L’Univers Israelite, during the 1930s Lambert worked with the Refugee Aid Committee (CAR) to provide relief for German Jewish refugees. Under the German occupation he was secretary general of the UGIF in charge of the Southern Zone, where he pursued a strategy of negotiation and petitioning with the Vichy authorities to secure autonomy for Jewish welfare organizations. Because of his protests against the confiscation of Jewish property in August 1943, Lambert was interned in Drancy together with his family and four months later deported to Auschwitz, where they were murdered. He was one of the founding members of the documentation center in Grenoble.
Lichtman, Ada (1920–?): Born in Wieliczka, Poland; studied at the University of Krakow. Lichtman, who survived the Sobibór death camp, was among the founding members of the historical commission in Lublin. In the late 1940s, she left Poland for Israel, where she appeared as a witness in the Eichmann trial.
Livian, Marcel (1901–1988): Born in Braila, Romania; immigrated to France in his youth and studied law at the universities of Paris and Bucharest. As a committed member of the Socialist Party of France, Livian was active in the FSJF. In 1940 he volunteered for the French army and later joined the socialist underground in the Southern Zone. Livian was an early member of the CDJC and its secretary-general after the war. He was naturalized in 1946.
Meiss, Léon (1896–1966): Born in Sarrebourg, France; studied law at the University of Strasbourg. A well-known lawyer, Meiss was active in Jewish communal affairs in Strasbourg and Paris, especially in the Consistoire Central. After France’s defeat he went to the Southern Zone and reorganized the Consistoire in Lyon, initially as its vice president and after October 1943 as president. Meiss was influential in the founding of the Conseil Représentatif des Israélites de France and became its honorary president in 1950. He was also active in French ORT Union and the Children’s Relief Agency (OSE), as well as the CDJC.
Milbauer, Joseph (1898–1968): Born in Warsaw; grew up in Brussels. In 1921 Milbauer went to Paris, where he wrote poetry and translated Yiddish and Hebrew works into French. During the 1930s he served as editor of L’Univers Israélite, a position he resigned from because of his growing Zionist convictions. Milbauer also headed the French branch of the Keren Ha-Yesod. An early collaborator of the documentation center in Grenoble, he escaped to Palestine in 1944.
Milner, Joseph (1887–1963): Born in Chełm, then in the Russian Empire, now in Poland; emigrated in 1905 to study at the University of Bern, then went to Palestine. In 1909 Milner settled in France, where he studied chemical engineering (p.217) at the University of Toulouse. In the interwar years he worked for the OSE, while also researching the history of the Jews of France and writing as a journalist for the Polish Jewish press (Der Moment). During the Second World War he went to the Southern Zone and engaged in underground relief work for the OSE. After the liberation, he continued to work for that organization in Paris, as well as for the CDJC.
Monneray, Henri (Heinrich Meierhof) (1914–?): Born in Erfurt, Germany. After the Nazi rise to power, Monneray fled to France, studied law at the University of Paris, and was naturalized in 1936. After the German occupation, he first escaped to the Southern Zone, and then fled via Spain to Algeria. He returned to France with Gaullist troops in 1944. After the war Monneray worked in the French Ministry of Justice’s war crimes office (Service de recherche des crimes de guerre enemis) and served with the French delegation to the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He also was affiliated with the CDJC.
Olewski, Rafael Gerszon (1914–1981): Born in Osięciny, then in the Russian Empire, today in Poland; teacher and journalist. A committed Zionist, Olewski was active in the Keren Kayemet as a member of the General Zionist Party. In the Belsen DP Camp, he cofounded and edited Undzer Shtime; he also headed the historical commission and the culture department of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone. In 1949 he immigrated to Israel.
Paraf, Pierre (1893–1989): Born in Paris; trained as a lawyer. Paraf had a career in journalism, writing, and radio broadcasting. In 1927 he cofounded the Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme. Between 1930 and 1939 Paraf was the literary editor of the Paris-based daily La République and later of the left-wing daily Combat and the monthly L’Europe. During the war he affiliated with the UGIF in the Southern Zone and was active in the Résistance. Paraf was also closely affiliated with the CDJC, both during and after the war.
Poliakov, Léon (1910–1997): Born in St. Petersburg; went to France in 1924. Trained as a lawyer, Poliakov worked until 1939 as a journalist for the Pariser Tageblatt, a German-language anti-Nazi paper. With the outbreak of war, he joined the French Army, then after its demobilization survived the war in the Southern Zone. In 1945 Poliakov became head of the CDJC research department. In 1952 he was appointed a fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and in 1954 he joined the École Pratique des Hautes Études.
Rosental, Dovid (1919–?): Born in Warsaw; journalist and committed Labor Zionist. After surviving Auschwitz, Rosental ended up in the Belsen DP camp, where he was a director of the cultural office of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone. He was also active in the Belsen historical commission and (p.218) as a member of the editorial board of Undzer Shtime. At the end of the 1940s, Rosental immigrated to the United States.
Rost, Nella (née Thon; also Rost-Hollander or Thon-Rost): Born in 1902 in Krakow, the daughter of Dr. Jehoshua (Osias) Thon, a prominent rabbi, cultural Zionist, political leader, and member of the Polish Parliament. Thon-Rost studied literature at the University of Krakow and worked as a journalist. She survived forced labor, the Krakow ghetto, the Krakow-Plaszów concentration camp, and incarceration and torture at the Montelupich prison in Krakow. With the help of the Jewish underground she was freed from Montelupich in the summer of 1944 and survived in the forests around Warsaw until the liberation of those areas in January 1945. She returned to Krakow, where served as vice-director of the Krakow branch of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lodz. In April 1946 she left for Sweden, where she led a historical commission in Stockholm that collected testimonies on behalf of the World Jewish Congress. In February 1951 she immigrated to Uruguay.
Schah, Wladimir: Born in Russia; immigrated to France. Active with the HICEM emigration organization, he headed the HICEM-affiliated Sixth Direction of the Union Générale des Israélites de France in the Southern Zone. Although he found the Union’s cooperation with the Germans and the Vichy regime problematic, he hoped to smuggle Jews out of France. Schah’s son Eugène, a worker for ORT, was also active with the UGIF in the Southern Zone. Both survived the war and continued their work with these organizations, as well as with the CDJC.
Schneersohn, Isaac (1879–1969): Born in Kamenets-Podolski (then in the Russian Empire, today in Ukraine), to the Schneersohn family of Lubavitch Hasidic rebbes; educated as a rabbi and involved in Jewish social work. Schneersohn belonged to the moderate liberal Russian party, the Cadets. From 1916 to 1918, he held municipal offices in Ryazan. In 1920 Schneersohn left for France, where he became an industrialist, while remaining involved in social work. During the occupation he escaped to the Southern Zone and survived in hiding. After the war in Paris, Schneersohn reconstituted the documentation center which he had founded in Grenoble, serving as its director until his death.
Silkes, Genia (1914–1984): Born in Brest-Litovsk, then in the Russian Empire, today in Belarus; trained at the Jewish Teachers’ Seminary in Vilna. A teacher in Warsaw before the German occupation, Silkes helped set up a network of underground schools in the ghetto. She also contributed to the Oyneg Shabes archives. Silkes participated in the Warsaw ghetto uprising but escaped deportation, hiding in the forests and living on the “Aryan side” in Warsaw. In 1945 she became a member of the Central Jewish Historical Commission and worked to reestablish Jewish schools in postwar Poland. In 1949 she left Poland for Paris, where she (p.219) worked as a teacher and as an affiliate of the Society of the Friends of YIVO in Paris. In 1956 she left for the United States, where she worked for YIVO.
Syngalowski, Aron (1890–1956): Born in the vicinity of Baranovichi, then in the Russian Empire, today in Belarus; attorney. Syngalowski went to Germany shortly before the First World War as a representative of the Russian ORT. He studied philosophy and law in Germany and Switzerland. In 1921 he became vice-chairman of the executive committee of World ORT in Berlin, but he fled to France after the Nazi takeover. Affiliated with the CDJC, he survived the war in the Southern Zone of France. After the war Syngalowski played a formative role in rebuilding the ORT network in Europe.
Szeftel, Jacques (also Scheftel or Cheftel) (1882–?): Born in Zhitomir, then in the Russian Empire, today in Ukraine; graduated from the law school at the University of St. Petersburg. In 1922, Szeftel immigrated to France, where in the mid-1920s he worked as counselor at the Court of Appeals in Paris. During the war he engaged in relief work with immigrant Jews interned in the Southern Zone. In 1945, he became the secretary-general of ORT in France and a close collaborator of the CDJC.
Szeftel, Leon (Arie) (1905–1980): Born in Vilna, then in the Russian Empire, now in Lithuania; Hebrew teacher. Szeftel was active in the Poale Zion prior to the German occupation. He survived the Vilna ghetto and a labor camp in Estonia. Returning to Poland after the war, Szeftel helped rebuild the Poale Zion movement and worked with the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lodz. He immigrated to Israel in the late 1940s and became a communal politician in Rishon LeZion.
Trepman, Paul Pinchas (1916–1987): Born in Warsaw; teacher; active in the Revisionist Zionist movement. During the German occupation he survived under false identity and was interned in seven concentration camps. After a death march to Bergen-Belsen, Trepman was liberated by the British. He was a member of the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone and served in the cultural office and on the editorial board of Undzer Shtime. He was also active in the historical commission and in building up a network of Jewish schools in Belsen. He immigrated to Canada in the late 1940s.
Trunk, Isaiah (1905–1981): Born in Kutno, then in the Russian Empire, now in Poland; studied history at the University of Warsaw with Meir Bałaban, earning a master’s degree in 1929. Until the war Trunk taught history at the schools of the Central Yiddish School Organization in Bialystok and Warsaw. He belonged to the the Yunger Historiker Krayz led by Emanuel Ringelblum and Raphael Mahler, was a member of YIVO, and was affiliated with the Institute for Jewish Studies in (p.220) Warsaw, where he came to know Philip Friedman. At the beginning of the German occupation, he escaped to Bialystok and later deeper into the Soviet Union, where he spent the rest of the war. After returning to Poland in the summer of 1946, he was active in the historical commission in Warsaw until 1950. From 1951 to 1953, Trunk lived in Israel, where he worked for the Ghetto Fighters’ House. In 1953 he left for Canada and a year later settled in the United States. In 1954 he joined the staff of YIVO in New York, where he was a member of the board of directors, chairman of the research and planning commission, and chief archivist.
Wasser, Hersh (Hersz) (1912–1980): Born in Suwałki, then in the Russian Empire, now in Poland; earned a master’s degree from the University of Warsaw. An active member of the Left Poale Zion party, after December 1939 Wasser became involved in relief work for Jewish refugees arriving in Warsaw. He was the secretary of the Ringelblum archive and a member of the archives committee of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the Warsaw ghetto. After the war he was director of the District Jewish Historical Commission in Warsaw. He immigrated to Israel in 1950.
Weliczker, Leon (also Leon Wells) (1925–): Born in Stojanów near Lvov, then in Poland, now in Ukraine. He survived the war in Lvov, where was an inmate of the Janowska camp and a member of Sonderkommando 1005, which had the task of exhuming and burning bodies from mass graves in eastern Galicia. In November 1943 he escaped and went into hiding. After the liberation of Lvov he became acquainted with Philip Friedman. In July 1945 Weliczker left Lvov and began to study at the Politechnic Institute in Gliwice, Silesia while also working for the historical commission in Lodz, which published his wartime diary in 1946. In February 1946 he left for the U.S. Zone of Germany. Weliczker studied engineering and mathematics at the Technische Hochschule in Munich, and until January 1947 he also worked for the Central Historical Commission in Munich. In 1949, after getting his doctorate in engineering, he immigrated to the United States. He testified at the Eichmann trial in 1961.
Wiener, Alfred (1885–1965): Born in Potsdam; trained as an Orientalist. After the First World War, Wiener became active in the Jewish defense organization CV (Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith), as secretary of the CV’s Greater Berlin chapter between 1919 and 1923 and as national deputy secretary and secretary between 1923 and 1933. In 1933 he escaped to Amsterdam and with Dr. David Cohen founded the Jewish Central Information Office in 1934. In 1939 the center moved to London, where it became known as the Wiener Library after the war. Wiener served as its director until his death.
Wiesenthal, Simon (1908–2005): Born in Buczacz, Galicia, the in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Ukraine; studied architecture at the Universities of (p.221) Prague and Lvov. He endured the Lvov ghetto, went into hiding but was denounced and arrested, and survived several concentration camps, including Janowska, Plaszów, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen, where he was liberated by the U.S. Army in 1945. He was active in the Central Committee of Jews in Austria and in various organizations of former camp inmates, in addition to briefly serving as an interrogator for the American occupying forces. In 1947 he assumed leadership of the historical commission in Linz, which operated until 1954. In 1961 he opened a documentation center in Vienna, where he lived until his death in 2005.
Wulf, Joseph (Józef) (1912–1974): Born in Chemnitz, Germany, to affluent Polish Jewish parents, he grew up in Krakow, and he received rabbinical training at the Mir Yeshiva. Under German occupation he was active in a Jewish fighting organization operating in the Krakow and Bochnia ghettos. In 1943 he was arrested and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He escaped from a death march in January 1945 and returned to Krakow, where in March/April that year he participated in the founding of a historical commission (whose secretary he became in May 1945 and deputy director a year later) as the local branch of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lodz. Wulf left Poland in 1947 for political reasons. After brief sojourns in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, he settled in Paris, where (together with Michał Borwicz) he headed a research center for the history of Polish Jews; he also served as secretary-general of the Federation of Polish Jews in France. In 1952 Wulf moved to West Berlin, where he continued his Holocaust research. He committed suicide in 1974. (p.222)
(1) The following works served as the main basis for these biographical sketches: Gutman, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust; Hundert, The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe; Kagan, Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers; Niger and Shatsky, Leksikon; Roth, Encyclopaedia Judaica; Shrayer, An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature; Skolnik, Encyclopaedia Judaica (2nd ed.); and Szajkowski, Analytical Franco-Jewish Gazetteer, 1939–1945; as well as Who’s Who in World Jewry (for the years 1955–1965) and Who’s Who in Israel (for the years 1955–1965).