Chava Kopelman

"Always take threats seriously."

Name at birth
Chava Blodek
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
In Israel.
Name of father, occupation
(Mauritius) Moshe Blodek, Merchant.
Maiden name of mother, occupation
(Rosa) Rachel Strauchen, Secretary.
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and me.
How many in entire extended family?
32 that I know, but many more unknown to me.
Who survived the Holocaust?
My parents, one aunt and three of her children.
In March, 1938, the Germans marched into Austria which became part of the Reich (the Anschluss).  I was in first grade and could not go to school anymore.  My father was lucky to be able to leave Vienna and enter British Mandate Palestine.  He immediately began working on getting papers for my mother and me, but it took ten months.  During this time, my mom and I hid in our apartment which was located in a non-Jewish district and where we were the only Jews in the building.  

Our concierge, Mrs. Eden, protected us, despite her Nazi daughter who worked for the Nazi party and whose apartment was adjacent to ours.  When the SS came to look for Jews she always said there were none in her building and that she would never have such people.  Those were ten months of fear and darkness.  The radio was very loud with Hitler’s voice barking from it but very low when my mom listened to foreign stations.  

When mom needed to go out she usually took me with her for my non-Jewish looks.  Milk, butter and bread were delivered to our apartment three times a week very early in the morning by the good soul who owned the milk store.  Fruit and vegetables were bought in the market.  

My mom’s brothers in Cracow, Poland tried to convince her to escape to Cracow, but when she told me about it I raised hell, screaming that I go only where Papa is.  Later my mom kept saying that I saved our lives.  

I clearly remember the postman arriving at the door of the building and waving a brown envelope while calling to my mom “what you have been waiting for, I think has arrived”.  And the envelope really contained our passport with the visa to Mandate Palestine.  

We left and I also clearly remember Mrs. Eden crying bitterly and embracing us when we said goodbye.  We joined my dad in Haifa in February, 1939.
Where were you in hiding?
Our apartment in Vienna, Austria.
Where did you go after being liberated?
Haifa, Israel.
When did you come to the United States?
Occupation after the war
High School after war, then psychotherapist.
When and where were you married?
1955 in Haifa, Israel.
Raoul, Chemistry professor.
Orion Moshe, consultant; Leeron Joseph, computer engineer; Shirli Yocheved Paulina, professor in business school.
Talia and Yasmin.
What do you think helped you to survive?
My parents’ intuition and courage.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Always take threats seriously.


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