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Chaim Werzbe

Sokolow Podlaski, Poland

Chaim was raised in a Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish family in Sokolow Podlaski, a manufacturing town in central Poland with a large Jewish community of about 5,000. The economic activities of most of the townspeople were closely tied to those of nearby Warsaw and surrounding farming communities. As a young man, Chaim liked to play chess and was active in a local Zionist organization.

1933-39: Chaim made a living in the grain business. After settling down, he married a widow who was older than he and who had children. The Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. German aircraft bombed Sokolow Podlaski's market and other civilian targets before German troops entered the town on September 20. Three days later, the Germans set fire to the town's main synagogue and looted the Jewish community.

1940-42: Over the next few months, the Germans imposed restrictions on the town's Jews. Chaim lost his business and was required to wear an identifying Jewish star on his clothing. In the summer of 1941 the Germans set up a ghetto and Chaim and his family were among the 4,000 Jews concentrated there. More than a year later, on the most solemn holiday of the Jewish religion, the Day of Atonement, the Germans began to round up the people in the ghetto. Chaim and his family were herded onto the boxcar of a train.

On September 22, 1942, Chaim and his family were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. He was 33 years old when he died.

 

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