Ezra Zelig, who was called Zelig by family and friends, worked in the lumber business in Kozienice, a village by the Kozienice birch forest. He was married and the father of six children. A prominent member of the community, Zelig served on Kozienice's city council, and was also president of the local Zionist organization.
1933-39: In 1937 Zelig tried to obtain visas for his family to emigrate to Palestine [the Yishuv], at that time a British protectorate, but was unsuccessful because of the restrictions placed by the British on immigration into that country. Two years later, Germany invaded Poland. Kozienice's Jewish section was closed off by the Germans as a ghetto.
German invasion of Poland, September 1939
1940-41: In early 1940 Zelig's Polish friends came to warn him that he was in danger of being taken hostage because of his prominence in the community. Along with a son, a daughter, and their spouses, Zelig fled across the border to Soviet-controlled Poland. They stopped in an area near the city of Lvov, where Zelig worked as a lumber consultant for the Soviet government. In 1941 Germans overran Lvov and sent mobile killing squads [Einsatzgruppen] into the area to assist in murdering the Jewish population.
Zelig and his family were not heard from after 1941.
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