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Elka Rosenstein

Sokolow Podlaski, Poland


Elka was raised in a large, Yiddish-speaking Jewish family in Sokolow Podlaski, a manufacturing town in central Poland with a large Jewish population of some 5,000. Elka was 14 when she graduated from middle school. After completing her schooling, she became a tailor. Working at home, she made clothes for different clothiers in town.

1933-39: Elka was unmarried and living with her parents when war between Germany and Poland broke out on September 1, 1939. German aircraft bombed Sokolow Podlaski's market and other civilian targets before victorious German troops entered the town on September 20. Three days later, the Germans set fire to the town's main synagogue and looted the Jewish community.

1940-42: Over the next two years, the Germans imposed restrictions on the Jews of Sokolow Podlaski, eventually ordering them to wear an identifying Jewish star on their clothing. On September 28, 1941, the Germans set up a ghetto and Elka and her family were among the 4,000 Jews concentrated there. About a year later, on the most solemn holiday of the Jewish religion, the Day of Atonement, the Germans began to round up the people in the ghetto. Elka and her family were herded onto the boxcar of a train.

On September 22, 1942, Elka and her family were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp, where they perished. She was 26 years old.

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