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Morris Zaidband

Oswiecim, Poland

Morris was one of five children born to a Jewish family in the Polish town of Oswiecim, 33 miles west of Cracow [Krakow]. Morris' father sold ladies' undergarments. Morris worked as a jeweler.

1933-39: In September 1939 Germany invaded Poland. My family started to flee eastward but two weeks later the Germans overtook us and we were sent home. When we returned, the Germans were already beating Jews who didn't show them "respect." One day, when German guards came to our house to deport my father, he asked them to wait while he got ready. The guards soon became suspicious and when he didn't return they burst into the next room where they found my father. He had hanged himself from the ceiling.

1940-44: In 1940 I was deported, and spent the next few years in Nazi labor camps. By 1944 I was in the Landsberg camp in Germany. There, in exchange for a privileged job, I offered a German guard a diamond that I had concealed in a false tooth. He assigned me to the laundry, where it was warm and I could get extra food. When I went to have the camp dentist remove the diamond, he said he couldn't get it without pulling a healthy tooth. Luckily, the guard let me stay in the laundry without demanding the diamond.

Later, Morris was deported to the Mueldorf labor camp. He was liberated by U.S. troops on May 2, 1945. After the war, Morris emigrated to the United States.

 

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