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Rivka Rzondzinski

Kaluszyn, Poland

The mother of six children, Rivka lived 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. The Rzondzinski family was very religious. When Rivka's husband, Fiszel, died in the early 1930s, she and her oldest daughter, Channa, opened a newspaper kiosk near the Kaluszyn railroad station.

1933-39: When Germany invaded Poland several days ago, my daughter Raizel's husband and her two sons fled eastward to the USSR with other Jewish men. They were afraid that the Germans would send them away for forced labor. Soon after, German forces fought Polish troops in a battle at Kaluszyn and half the town was flattened by bombs. My house was destroyed, so now I have to move to nearby Minsk Mazowiecki with Channa who has in-laws living there.

1940-44: The apartment in Minsk Maziowiecki is crowded, so I'm returning to Kaluszyn to live with Raizel's family. Raizel's husband, Mojsze, returned to Kaluszyn after he heard about the bombing, because he was worried about Raizel. Now he's on the ghetto's Jewish council. Their son, Abram, is in the Jewish police and their other son, Majlech, is on the Jewish sanitation committee. I'd like to help Raizel in the communal kitchen for poor Jewish families. Food is scarce if a family has nothing to trade on the black market.

On September 25, 1942, 67-year-old Rivka and more than 3,000 other Jews were deported from Kaluszyn to the Treblinkaextermination camp, where she perished.

 

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