Anna Fein

"Learn about your history and do not let history repeat itself anywhere in the world."

Name at birth
Ania Wancjer
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Dzierzoniow, Poland (after the war ended)
Name of father, occupation
Hershel Wancjer, Civil servant
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Fajga Karasek, Cook
Immediate family (names, birth order)
My parents and myself; two siblings were born after the war
How many in entire extended family?
My mother had four siblings (or more) and some were married and had children. My father was an orphan and only had cousins
Who survived the Holocaust?
My parents and me
My father was a member of the Communist party in Poland in the 1930’s.  My parents were married in Warsaw in 1939.  At the Communist meetings, my father was warned that the Germans were coming and they, as Jews, should leave Poland for Russia.  

My parents moved to Russia before I was born.  My father was in a Russian Army work battalion during World War II.  

I was born in 1941 in Berezniki, Russia in Sverdlovsk near the Ural Mountains.  We lived in one room of a house, conditions were very bad.  It was very cold there.  My mother had to fend for us for more than four years.  She worked at whatever jobs she could find, working in a factory or cooking, in order to take care of us.  She was a very good cook and would make delicious food from whatever scraps she could find.

My mother had to go out to work and would leave me alone as a very little girl at home.  Sometimes when she would come home, she couldn’t find me because I was hiding under the bed.

My mother had a goat and found it amusing to watch me as a little girl, try to milk it.

The conditions in Berezniki were terrible because of the war, lack of food, and it was freezing cold.  
Because of illness in his lungs, my father was released from the Russian Army before the war ended.  

After the war, we moved back to my parents’ home country of Poland.  My mother had to take care of my father who remained very ill.  My brother and sister were born after the war in Poland.
Where were you in hiding?
Parents fled from the Nazis to Russia
Where were you in the Former Soviet Union?
I was born in Berezniki, Russia and stayed there throughout the war.
Where did you go after being liberated?
Dzierzoniow, Poland I was four years old. Our family moved to Wroclaw, Poland when I was 14. My sister was musically talented and there was wonderful music conservatory and a Jewish school there.
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
We left Poland because antisemitism was rampant again. I couldn’t go the beauty school in our town because of antisemitism. So I moved to Lodz to enroll in a school that was run by a Jewish director. I wanted to go to Israel but I married and had a child. My husband had an uncle in Detroit, Jack Kornheiser. So we moved to Detroit
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
1963 in Wroclaw, Poland
Albert Fein, Tool and die maker
Renee Fein, program coordinator, Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families, Jewish Senior Life
What do you think helped you to survive?
Being in the USSR during the war, and having a very strong, hard-working mother
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Learn about your history and do not let history repeat itself anywhere in the world.
Charles Silow
Interview date:


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