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Celia Petranker

Stanislav, Poland

Celia was the youngest of three daughters born to Jewish parents living in Stanislav [Stanislawow], Poland. Her father was an ardent Zionist, and dreamed of moving his family to Palestine to help build a Jewish homeland. Celia and her sisters attended private Hebrew primary and secondary schools to help prepare them for their eventual emigration to Palestine.

1933-39: Celia's oldest sister, Pepka, left for Palestine one week after the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Pepka's departure was timely; Stanislav was occupied by the Soviets in mid-September. Celia grew closer to her other sister,Amalie, who was starting college. Amalie helped Celia with her homework and helped her to understand the events taking place. Celia hoped that soon all the family would be in Palestine.

1940-41: The Germans occupied Stanislav on July 26, 1941. Jews over age 12 were forced to wear white armbands with a blue Jewish star. The Jews were told to report to the Jewish community center for work assignments. Celia and her sister were given pails and scrub brushes and assigned to clean at the Gestapo headquarters. From the window of the building Celia could see Jews being held in the courtyard, crying for help. One day, unable to bear their suffering, Celia tossed them her lunch of bread and cheese.

A German soldier spotted Celia as she threw the food to the imprisoned Jews. She was detained, beaten and later executed. Celia was 17 years old.

 

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