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Rachel Saleschutz

Kolbuszowa, Poland

Rachel was the eighth child born to Hasidic Jewish parents living in Kolbuszowa. She spoke English, Hebrew and German in addition to Polish and Yiddish. At school, Rachel's beautiful singing voice earned her leading roles in plays even though Jewish children were rarely given parts. Rachel and her brother Naftali were active in a Zionist scout organization called Ha-No'ar ha-Zioni.

1933-39: In 1933 Rachel started writing weekly postcards to her brother in Palestine. When the cards arrived, immigrants from Kolbuszowa would come to hear about their families and friends. In August 1939 Rachel's boyfriend obtained a visa to emigrate to America, and after an engagement ceremony, Rachel parted from her new fiance. A week later, Germany invaded Poland. Rachel could not join her fiance, and no more postcards reached Palestine.

1940-42: The Germans established a Jewish ghetto in Kolbuszowa in 1941. Rachel was fortunate to find work as a secretary for a German ghetto official, but in the summer of 1942, all of Kolbuszowa's Jews were transferred to the larger Rzeszow ghetto. There, Rachel met the German she had worked for in Kolbuszowa. He offered to hire her back, but Rachel said she would take the job only if the German could obtain papers that would spare her remaining family from deportation.

In July 1942 Rachel, her mother, and her four sisters, their husbands and children were deported [from Rzeszow] to the Belzec extermination camp, where they all perished.

 

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