Clara Gertz

"Teach your children to be Jewish. Children should not go through what we went through."

Name at birth
Slava Geta Schwartzberg
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Vilna, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Chaim Schwartzberg
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Fay Goldberg
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and five siblings: Tevya, (m), Chana Minka (f), Leibl (m), Annachka (m), and I
Who survived the Holocaust?
Chana Minka, Annachka, and I. Our parents, brothers Tevya and Leibl were murdered.
I was three years old when my family was about to be taken to the Vilna Ghetto.  There was a German nanny that worked for my father’s friend.  She offered to take the friend’s two children to live with her, to assume that they were her children.  My parents asked her to take me; I was 3 years old, the baby of our family.  She felt that she could not take another child, but found an orphanage to take me in.  I was in the orphanage for four or five years. I needed to pretend to be a Christian.  My brother, Annachka, later came to the orphanage as well.  After the war ended, a Russian couple wanted to take me.  I said that no I had a brother there and could not leave.  
I returned to Vilna and at the age of 11, went to work to help support the family.  I married my husband, Sam and at the age of 19, we came to Israel.  We lived there for eleven years and then came to Detroit.  I learned that my sister, Chana Minka, was living here.
Where were you in hiding?
Near Uzbekistan, town (pronounced) Torshooze
Sam Gertz
Fay and Bonnie
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was a child. I had to trust people. Later I had to work hard to survive.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Teach your children to be Jewish. Children should not go through what we went through.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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