Rachel Olewski [Zelmanowicz]
Daughter of Jehuda-Leib Zelmanowicz and Jocheved-Jached [Londner]
Sister of Dov-Beniek [Zalman-Ber]
Bendzin, Poland – Ramat-Gan, Israel
Rachela was born on 8th October 1921
She lived with her family on the second floor of in Malachowskiego st. 10, at the center of Bendzin.
She studied at the Furstenberg Hebrew Gymnasium and was a member in the "Hanoar Hazioni" [Zionist Youth] youth movement.
She was a skinny and spoiled girl, with a minimal appetite [which helped her later to survive Auschwitz…]
She was very shy girl. She always hid after her father when they were visiting people, and she would wait near the door when he went to the toilets…
She was a big movie fan, and she regularly went to the cinema hall near her home.
In the Hebrew lessons at the gymnasium, she used to read Polish novels under the table, which led to her imperfect knowledge of Hebrew…
However, she spoke high Polish and perfect German, and when she lived in Israel, she used to quote German journals.
Her grandmother of the Londner family had a sweets shop [Cukernia], and she spent there a lot of time.
She was a day-dreaming girl, and in the time of the ghetto in Bendzin she once told everyone that her brother [who was a policeman] said that the Germans ordered to close all windows in the Jewish houses. Finally they found out that she dreamt it…
September 1, 1939: World War II begins. Germany invades Poland.
September 5, 1939: The Germans enter Bendzin.
September 6, 1939: SS-men murder 2 Jewish bakers.
September 9, 1939: The Great Synagogue was burned down.
October 8, 1939: Rachela celebrates her 18th birthday.
End of October 1939: Radio receivers were confiscated from Bendzin Jews.
November 1939: 100 Jewish leaders were arrested in Bendzin and Sosnowiec.
November 23, 1939: The Gestapo ordered to put arm bands with the Magen David star.
January 1940: A central Judenrat of the Zaglembie region was established in Sosnowiec, headed by Moshe [Moniek] Merin.
Jewish families were evacuated from their apartments in the best parts of Bedzin, replaced by local Germans. Rachela's family was deported from one apartment to another in Bendzin ghetto.
"Shop Kilof" – the first carpentry shop, was opened.
May 1940: "Shop Rosner" for tailorship was opened ["Tailors Shop"]. Rachela works there in buttonholes making.
"Shoemakers Shop" [Dr. Braun] was opened.
September 27, 1940: Rachela's mother – Jocheved – passed away after illness in Bendzin ghetto. She was buried in the cemetery in Czeladz.
October 8, 1940: Rachela celebrates her 19th birthday.
March 1941: 3000 Jews evacuated from Oswiencim [Auschwitz village] arrived in Bebdzin.
June 18, 1941: Rachela is sent to the "Farma" [agriculture farm].
October 8, 1941: Rachela celebrates her 20th birthday.
Chaim Molczadski was appointed Chairman of the Bedzin Judenrat.
May 12, 1942: First deportation of 1200 Bendzin Jews to Auschwitz.
End of May 1942: Mordechai Anilewicz arrives to Bebdzin.
June 1942: Second deportation of 1200 Bendzin Jews to Auschwitz.
August 12, 1942: Preparations for the next deportation are made in terrible heat of summer.
August 15, 1942: 8,000 to 10,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz.
End of August 1942: Mordechai Anilewicz returns from Bendzin to Warsaw.
October 8, 1942: Rachela celebrates her 21th birthday.
End of 1942: New ID cards in different colors were issued.
April 8, 1943: The Germans ordered to gather all 19,000 Jews in Kamionka ghetto [between Bendzin and Sosnowiec].
June 22, 1943: 4000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz, among them Moshe Merin and relatives.
Since that day till August: Rachela and her father hide in a bunker in Kamionka ghetto.
August 1-7, 1943: Final deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
August 1, 1943: Dov [Beniek] Zelmanowicz [Rachela's brother] is deported to Auschwitz.
August 3, 1943: Rachela and her father are deported to Auschwitz.
August 4, 1943: Rachela' father, Jehuda-Leib, was sent to the gas chamber upon arriving to Auschwitz; it was one day after he became 53.
Rachela gets a tattoo number on her left arm – 52816, and was later sent to the women's orchestra of Auschwitz, A-Lager, Block 15.
October 8, 1943: Rachela celebrates her 22th birthday, playing to survive.
October 7, 1943: Dov, Rachela's brother, was killed when he took part in the Sonderkommando's revolt in Auschwitz, two days after he became 27.
October 8, 1944: Rachela celebrates her 23th birthday.
November 1944: The Jewish girls of women's orchestra are deported by train to Bergen-Belsen.
April 15, 1945: The British army liberates Bergen-Belsen.
After some weeks, Rachela and some of her friends start to walk to Palestine… They arrive to Celle, 20 km from Bergen-Belsen.
In Celle Rachela meets her future husband, Rafael Olewski.
January 15, 1946: Rachela (24) marries Rafael Olewski (31) in the local synagogue in Celle. The rabbi who weds them is Rafeal's brother, Rabbi Israel-Moshe Olewski, The Celler Rabbi.
March 15, 1949: Rachela (25) gives birth to her daughter Jochi [Jocheved- Rivka] at the Glyn-Hughes hospital in the DP camp Belsen.
April 3, 1949: Rachela, Rafael and Jochi arrive to Israel from France on board the ship "Atzmaut" [Independence].
December 24, 1950: Rachela (29) gives birth to her son Arie [Yehuda-Arie] in Ramat-Gan.
November 25, 1981: Her husband Rafael Olewski passed away at the age of 67.
Rachela becomes sick with breast-cancer. She is operated, gets chemotherapy and seems to overcome it.
April 1985: Rachela travels with Jochi and Arie to Germany and Poland, in the context of celebrating 40 years of liberation from Bergen-Belsen.
She arrives to Auschwitz and tries in vein to find her Block and her brother's letters to her, which she had hid near the block.
She travels to Bendzin and visits her home in Malachowskiego st. 10.
August 17, 1987: Rachela dies of cancer at the age of 65.
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