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Pesia Szczupakiewicz

Nur, Poland

Pesia, born Pesia Ander, was one of five children born to a Jewish family in the central Polish village of Nur. In 1929 Pesia married Shlomo Szczupakiewicz and they moved to his home town of Malkinia. A year later their first child, daughter Ida, was born.

1933-39: In September 1939, before the invading Germans reached Malkinia, Pesia fled with her family to the countryside. Exhausted, they returned to their house in Malkinia only a few weeks later. Shlomo then learned that a childhood friend had become a Nazi informant and decided it would be safer for the family to go to the Soviet zone. Fortunately, Malkinia was close to the border between German- and Soviet-controlled Poland.

1940-44: Pesia and her family crossed to the Soviet zone, to her brother's house in Nur, 12 miles away. Food there was scarce so they traveled north to Bialystok. With other refugees who were Polish nationals, the Szczupakiewiczs were deported from Bialystok by the Soviets. The family was packed into a cattle car and rode for 16 days in the freezing cold with water but no food. They arrived in Sverdlovsk in the Ural Mountains, and were settled in a logging camp in a one-room shack with little food and no fuel.

Pesia's family stayed in the Soviet Union until the war ended. Shlomo died there in 1945. The family returned to Poland in 1946 and then emigrated to the U.S. in 1951.

 

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