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Jozef Rapaport

Krystonopol, Poland

Jozef was raised in a religious Jewish family. When he was a baby, his father died and his mother was left to care for him and his three older sisters. The family was poor, but Jozef was determined to have a good education. He put himself through university in Prague, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics in Vienna. In 1931 he married Leah Kohl, and the couple settled in Warsaw.

1933-39: The Rapaports lived in the suburbs, and Jozef worked as a banker. His daughter, Zofia, was born in 1933. Jozef enjoyed spending time with his family. For Zofia's sixth birthday he bought her a bike and taught her to ride. Just before Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Jozef was mobilized for military duty. He was taken prisoner, but was released in November and returned home. The family then fled to Soviet-occupied Lvov.

1940-44: After the Germans occupied Lvov in 1941, the Rapaports managed to return to Warsaw where they were hidden outside the ghetto by one of Jozef's former employees. For two years the family was confined in an 8 x 10 foot room, speaking in whispers and never standing near the window. During the 1944 Warsaw uprising, the Germans began to expel the city's civilian population. Jozef was not recognized as a Jew, and was deported with other civilians to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Germany.

Jozef perished in Gross-Rosen sometime during the last six weeks of the war. His wife and daughter survived.


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