My great-aunt Pesia SINGER lived in Rymanow, Poland before WW2 and took
care of my mother when she (as a young child) spent her summers
there. My grandfather Leon, Pesia's brother, had died of peritonitis
shortly before my mother was born.
My mother told me that Pesia lost her son and husband when they were
executed by the Nazis, but survived the war and subsequently moved to
America, however she knew no other details, and I have been unable to
track Pesia or any surviving family.
Some months ago, I was contacted by Malka Shacham Doron, whose mother
Frida Stary knew Pesia when they were young, and had met Pesia in
Israel after the Six Day War. Malka extracted details >from her
mother's diary and sent me the following information:
Pesia Singer married Shmuel SHTOFF (>from Sieniawa, Poland). They had two
children - a girl named Lucia born 1929 and a boy named Ideck
(Yehuda) who was born later. Shmuel became the chairman of the
kehilla in Rymanow.
After the Germans occupied Rymanow, Shmuel was asked by the Germans to give
them a list of young men >from Rymanow to do physical labour. He
refused and was taken to the school yard at Bieletzky street (near
Bielecki's house) together with his son Ideck. Shmuel wrapped both
his son and himself with a tallit and both were shot to death. (March
1941). The perforated tallit still exists and is kept in (Ignacy)
Bielecki's Judaica collection in Rymanow.
Pesia buried some of her jewelry in the garden and took Lucia >from home and
fled that night >from Rymanow. She hid Lucia at the home of their
Christian maid in a small village near Krakow. Pesia turned a beggar,
and for almost three years she sat next to Kosciol Mariacki (St.
Mary's Basilica) in Krakow, where a priest allowed her to sleep
inside the church at night.
Towards the end of the war as the Russians were nearing, a Polish man from
Rymanow who came to Sunday mass at the church recognized her. She
immediately fled Krakow and went to the village where Lucia was and
fetched her. During the last battles between the Russians and the
Germans she arrived at Rymanow. She dug up the jewelry she had
hidden and later settled in Sanok.
Pesia was one of the first survivors and hosted many Jews >from Rymanow
that arrived later >from various concentration camps. Later, Pesia
immigrated to Canada with Lucia.
A harrowing story, which I felt I must share - Pesia was both brave and
lucky. It gives me hope that 1) I might be able to track Pesia in
Canada (where I live!); 2) Lucia might still be alive and 3) that
some of those who survived the camps and visited Pesia in Sanok might
have passed on some memories. I wonder if any 'Genners' might have