Brenda Altus

"They should have a better future than what we went through. People should know the history of the Holocaust. I wish everyone peace."

Name at birth
Bronia Rozmaryn
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Ciechanow, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Shulem Altus, Had a transportation service
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Tsiryl Paisachowicz, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and four children: Dora, Heinoch, Bronka (Brenda), and Genya
How many in entire extended family?
My mother had two brothers in Paris, my father had a brother in Argentina. We had a large family
Who survived the Holocaust?
One uncle in Paris and me
When the war started and the Germans were bombing Ciechanow, we went to small town, Wochim where my grandparents lived.  When the bombing stopped, my father went first back to our home.  He was arrested by Germans.  Luckily he had money with him and bribed them to let go.  He went back to Wochim.  

We learned that the Germans took over our house in Ciechanow, our furniture and belongings were sent to Germany.  While we were in Wochim, the Jewish people were taken to work.  I was young and looked like a Gentile as did my brother.  

My father said to us, maybe you both will survive the war.  He gave us money and sent us to Warsaw to survive.  On the train, we met a Polish woman who was very poor who lived in Warsaw.  She took us in to stay with her.  After a while, we told her the truth that we were Jewish.  We told her that my father would send her money to keep us and she agreed.  

Then the Warsaw Ghetto uprising occurred, the Ghetto was burning.  The Germans ordered everyone out into the street where we lived.  Single men and women were separated.  I never saw my brother again. 

They thought I was a Gentile.  I was taken to Germany first to work on a farm for a short while and then to work in an ammunitions factory near Leipzig.  I didn’t have any papers; I said that my papers were back inside the house.

In Leipzig, I pretended to be a Christian, I wore a cross, I went to church.  No one knew I was Jewish.  

After the war ended, I went back to Warsaw to see the Polish woman that I had stayed with.  She suggested that I go to a place in Warsaw like a Jewish Center to see if maybe I could find any relatives.  People put names on a wall looking for relatives.  I’m thinking to also put something on the wall too.  Then someone pats me on my shoulder.  It turned out to be someone I knew from my hometown; it turned out to be the man that I eventually married, Irving Altus.

Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
1946 in Munich
Irving Altus, Property management
Four sons: Mark, Sidney, Harvey, and Joey
Three granddaughters
What do you think helped you to survive?
I had false papers. I lived outside the Warsaw Ghetto, disguised as a Gentile.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
They should have a better future than what we went through. People should know the history of the Holocaust. I wish everyone peace.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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