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1898 | Warsaw, Poland
Sossia and her husband, Isadore, were the parents of seven boys. The Frenkiels, a religious Jewish family, lived in a one-room apartment in a town near Warsaw called Gabin. Like most Jewish families in Gabin, they lived near the synagogue. Sossia cared for the children while Isadore worked as a self-employed cap maker, selling his caps at the town's weekly market.
1933-39: Because of the Depression, Isadore's business had fallen off, but the Frenkiels managed to continue providing for their family. Shortly after the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, they occupied Gabin. They shot 10 people in the street and took away others, such as doctors and teachers. Then the German soldiers doused the synagogue with gasoline and burned it.
1940-45: In 1941 a cousin visited the Frenkiels after escaping from a transport. He confirmed rumors about the killing of Jews, warning them: "They put you in trucks, gas you, then throw your body into a burning pit." Sossia's 3-year-old son cried, "Will they burn me, too?" Isadore urged his cousin to tell the Jewish elders. He met with them, but they did not believe his story. In May 1942, two months after three of Sossia's sons had been deported for forced labor, the Germans rounded up all the Jews in Gabin.
In May 1942 Gabin's Jews were deported to the Chelmnoextermination camp. Sossia, Isadore and four of their sons were placed in a sealed van and asphyxiated with exhaust fumes.