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ABRAHAM LEWENT

Warsaw, Poland

Abraham was born to a Jewish family in the Polish capital of Warsaw. His grandfather owned a clothing factory and retail store, which his father managed. Abraham's family lived in a Jewish section of Warsaw and he attended a Jewish school. Warsaw's Jewish community was the largest in Europe, and made up nearly one-third of the population of the city.

1933-39: After the bombardment of Warsaw began on September 8, 1939, my family had little to eat. The stores had been reduced to rubble; we had no water or heat. Hunting for food, I dodged German bombs and stole seven jars of pickles from a nearby pickle factory. For several weeks my family lived on pickles and rice. Because of a lack of water, fires from the bombing raids burned out of control. Relief came when the capital surrendered.

 

 

 
Poland 1933, Warsaw indicated
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1940-44: By April 1943 I was in the Warsaw ghetto in a walled-off forced-labor area. During the ghetto uprising we could see the flames. We couldn't believe it. To one side I saw whole streets on fire. To the other I saw Poles in Warsaw's non-Jewish section preparing for Easter. When the Nazis liquidated the ghetto after the uprising, my father and I were among those marched out for deportation. Poles stood on the sidewalk, eyeing the suitcases we carried, saying: "You're going to your death, after all. Leave it for us."

Abraham was deported to Majdanek and then to seven other Nazi camps, including Buchenwald. He was liberated in transit to the Dachau camp on April 30, 1945.

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