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December 25, 1940 | Wierzbnik-Starachowice, Poland
Henry's Jewish parents lived in a Polish town in which their families had lived for 150 years. The Jewish community enjoyed good relations with their Polish neighbors; the local Polish population refused to cooperate when the government encouraged a boycott of Jewish businesses during a wave of antisemitism that swept Poland in the mid-1930s.
1933-39: In the years before I was born, my father owned an iron and coal factory. The Germans occupied Wierzbnik on September 5, 1939. While some Jews fled, most, including my parents, remained.
1940-44: The Nazis established a ghetto in May 1940. I was born there eight months later. In 1942 my father, learning the ghetto was to be emptied, arranged for me to be hidden in a Catholic convent in Cracow. Perhaps because the convent was bombed, I was put out on the street--I was 3. A woman picked me up and took me to an attic above a candy store. It was dark and I was alone. The only person I ever saw was this woman who fed me and taught me to make the sign of the cross. I didn't know my own name or why I was in an attic.
Henry was discovered by a Jewish social worker and taken to Israel. He was reunited with his father eight years later, and settled in Ecuador. In 1980 he moved to the United States.
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