Ayala Jedwab

"Know that there was a Holocaust and remember what happened during the Holocaust."

Name at birth
Hildegard Lieberman
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Dusseldorf, Germany
Name of father, occupation
Tzvi Lieberman, Food wholesaler
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Nechama Farbstein, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, brother Ze’ev, and Ayala
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
Parents, brother Ze’ev, and Ayala My brother in Israel, passed away in 2016
I was only a little girl when my parents left Germany for Palestine, now Israel.  I was a child; I remember that I had a good life as a little girl.  Our family left Germany in 1935 or 1936.  My father had a business partner who was German.  One night he came to our house and told my father that Hitler is after the Jews.  He said take your family and leave Germany.  My father had a cousin living in Tel Aviv.  We were able to get visas from the British Consulate and then left for Palestine.  My parents never talked to me about what was happening in Germany.  
Both of my parents were originally from Poland.  My father was born in Warsaw, my mother in Bialystok.  My father first came to Germany, he later brought my mother afterwards.  They were married in Germany. My mother and father asked their parents, sisters, and brothers to come to Germany, but they did want to leave Poland.  All of their family members were later murdered by the Nazis, 
When we went to Israel, I was enrolled in a kindergarten and went to school.  As a child, I had a good life.  It was difficult at first, the British had a 6 PM curfew almost every day. 
The early years in Israel were hard for my parents.  My father didn’t have a profession.  He was able to get a job working as a clerk in a store.  In 1948, the War of Independence with Arab states began after the State of Israel was created.  My father was given a gun, he didn’t even know how to hold a gun.
I learned to be a bookkeeper and worked in a bank until I was 18 years old.  In 1948, I went into the army andI worked in an office.  The men were sent to the front to fight in the war.  I was proud to serve in the Israeli army for three years.  That’s where I met my husband who was my Sergeant Major, I was a corporal. 
I was in Tel Aviv in 1948 when Israel was declared a state by the United Nations.  There was much dancing, hugging, and kissing, and rejoicing in the streets. 
We were married in Tel Aviv in 1951.  My husband was in the Haganah.  He was in a tank in a convoy escort on the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, near Gush Etzion.  He was seriously injured by a landmine; a piece of shrapnel was lodged close to his spine in a place where it could not be operated on.  When we later moved to the United States, the shrapnel had apparently moved from where it had been lodged and they were able to remove it.    
In 1952, our older son Elan (Allan Jedwab) was born.  In 1957, our son Tzvi (Steven Silk) was born.  Tzvi was named after my father.  He changed his name from Jedwab to Silk, Jedwab means silk in Polish.
We moved to the United States in 1968, my husband had a brother in Detroit, Sam (Shmuel) Jedwab who sponsored us to come.  My husband had been seriously wounded in the war and as our older son was getting older, he would soon have to join the army.  My husband did not want him to possibly get hurt as he himself was in the war.  
I loved Israel and did not want to leave.  I pleaded with my husband for five years.  Finally, I relented.  
When did you come to the United States?
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My husband had a brother living in Detroit who sponsored us.
Occupation after the war
I worked in the Hebrew department at United Hebrew Schools as a secretary.
When and where were you married?
1951 in Tel-Aviv, Israel
Meir Jedwab, Builder, houses. Subdivisions. His brother was a builder and took him into the business. My husband died at the age of 70 of cancer.
Allan (Elan) Jedwab and Steven (Tzvi) Silk
Ethan, Elliot, and Ariel
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was a young child when my family moved to Palestine. What helped me survive in Israel was that I wanted to continue with to live life. Also, now, I just want to see nachos (have gratification or pride) from my grandchildren.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Know that there was a Holocaust and remember what happened during the Holocaust.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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