Name at birth
Boruch Balaj
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Koretz, Russia/Poland
Name of father, occupation
Tevye Balaj
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Mayta Mindess
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Tevya Balaj (father); Mayta Mindess Balaj (mother); Babel Balaj Gershman (sister); Malka/Dotzia Gershman (niece); Chayka Balaj (first wife); daughter (name?)
How many in entire extended family?
Seven on the Balaj side, and many on the Mindess side
Who survived the Holocaust?
My father, Boruch Balaj, was the sole survivor of his immediate family. My father is the only survivor on the Balaj side of the family. Many uncles, aunts and cousins on the Mindess side of the family survived, most by having emigrated to Canada, Israel and the US before the war. Names of those who were killed: Tevya Balaj (father); Mayta Mindess Balaj (mother); Babel Balaj Gershman (sister); Malka/Dotzia Gershman (niece); Chayka Balaj (first wife); Daughter (name?); Shmuel Balaj (uncle); Matl Balaj (aunt); Alek/Alik Balaj (first cousin); Shifra Balaj (first cousin); Khasia/Chasia Balaj (cousin?); Chantza/Hansya Mindess (aunt); Golda Mindess (aunt); Beila/Bayla Mindess (aunt); Tseyse/Tzesia Mindess (aunt)
Where were you in the Former Soviet Union?
When Russia invaded Poland, my father was conscripted into the Soviet army and then deported to a labor camp in Chelyabinsk, Siberia
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Displaced Persons camps in Salzburg, Austria; Wetzlar, Germany; and Wasseralfingen, Germany, American Zone
Where did you go after being liberated?
Back to Koretz, which had become part of Ukraine, USSR
When did you come to the United States?
November 7, 1949, arriving in New York on the US military ship, the General Harry Taylor
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
A close family friend from the town of Koretz where my father grew up, Adya Kurland, sponsored my mother and father
Occupation after the war
Small business owner
When and where were you married?
Chelyabinsk, USSR on November 5, 1945
Manya (Maria) Waskobujnik Balaj, Homemaker
Daughter (name? age? killed in the Holocaust); Theodore Balaj, Seymoure Balaj, and Barbara Balaj
Andrew Balaj, Erica Balaj Baer, and Michelle Balaj. Three great-grandchildren: Jagger, Willow and Noah.
Biography given by Barbara Balaj
Interview date:

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