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Gisha Galina Bursztyn

Pultusk, Poland

Gisha was raised by Yiddish-speaking, religious Jewish parents in the town of Pultusk in central Poland. She married in the late 1890s and moved with her husband, Shmuel David Bursztyn, to the city of Warsaw, where Shmuel owned and operated a bakery on Zamenhofa Street in the city's Jewish section. In 1920 the Bursztyns and their eight children moved to a two-bedroom apartment at 47 Mila Street.

1933-39: By 1939 six of Gisha's children were grown and had left home: her eldest daughters had married, and her four eldest sons had emigrated to America and Mexico. Only her youngest son and daughter still lived at home. Her husband had given up his business and was working for the Kagan Bakery. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. After being attacked for four weeks, Warsaw fell to the Germans on September 28.

 
Poland 1933, Warsaw indicated
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1940-42: When the Warsaw ghetto was set up by the Germans in November 1940, the Bursztyn's apartment ended up within the closed-off ghetto. Shmuel continued working at the Kagan Bakery, which was also located within the ghetto. In April 1942 he was killed by the Germans. Fearing the German roundups, Gisha decided to hide in one of the ghetto's makeshift bunkers. During a massive roundup that began on July 22, 1942, Gisha was rousted from her bunker, marched several blocks to an assembly point, and herded onto a boxcar.

Gisha was deported to the Treblinka extermination camp, where she was gassed in July 1942. She was 65.

Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
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