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Mojsze Kisielnicki

Kaluszyn, Poland

Mojsze, his wife Raizel and their three children lived 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small, predominantly Jewish town of Kaluszyn. Mojsze had gone to Jewish schools and supported Zionist ideals. By the early 1930s, he owned a wholesale grocery store, a restaurant and a gas station, all of which were located on the heavily traveled main road.

1933-39: I'm at the World's Fair in Paris with my sister, Ruchel. She emigrated here in the 1920s with her husband, who owns a successful tailor shop. When I return to Kaluszyn, I'm going to talk to Raizel. Maybe we should think about moving here, too. Living standards are higher. On the other hand, I'm middle-aged, my business is thriving, and I'm a leader in the community, so how can I pull up roots now and start all over again?

1940-42: When German forces entered Kaluszyn in September 1939, our mayor chose me and several other Jewish residents for the Jewish council. We are responsible for supplying laborers and material goods to the occupying troops. One day the Germans want jewelry, the next, furniture. Now they want 150 men for forced labor in Biala Podlaska, 58 miles away. Can I convince them that they don't need so many men? How can I face these young men's parents?

Mojsze was shot to death by the Germans on September 21, 1942. Four days later, more than 3,000 Jews were deported from Kaluszyn to an extermination camp.


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