Hannah Ungar

"Stay by your religion. Do everything that you can for your fellow Jew, do the best that you can for all people."

Name at birth
Hanna Perl Bukenholz
Date of birth
Where did you grow up?
Dagda, Latvia
Name of father, occupation
Shmuel Bukenholz, Rabbi, Shochet and Mohel
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Leah Shapiro, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, one son and five daughters: Beilah, Yaacov, Sonia, Mina (also called Shprinsa), Ruchul and Hanna, (me).
How many in entire extended family?
Large extended family
Who survived the Holocaust?
My brother Yaacov, my sister Sonia who left for Israel before the war, my sister Ruchul, and me
It was wonderful life, we had a beautiful life. My parents were good people.  My father was Lubavitch Hasid (a branch of Orthodox Judaism).  For Pesach (Passover), Lubavitcher Hasidim came from all over to be with us including from Israel.  It was a happy time.
The town had a Jewish school and a public school.  As a child, I went with my father to see the Rebbe (Chief Lubavitcher Rabbi) in Riga.
We lived near the Russian border.  When the war started, the Russians came.  
In 1941, I had just finished high school.  I went to a military nursing school in Russia during the war.
Ruchel and I left for Russia together.  Ruchel became the chief pharmacist at the hospital of the same nursing school that I attended, Riga University. 
My sister Ruchel and I later traveled three weeks by train to Bashkiria in the Ural Mountains. There was a military school and a nursing school.  It was a hard life, going to school and working in the same hospital.  Seven Jewish girls worked there.
Ruchel became the chief pharmacist at the hospital.  We were both there about four years working in the hospital.
We were then both were sent to take care of military casualties from the front.
Ruchel married a Jewish Polish man.
Ruchel and I returned back to Latvia.  In Latvia, a Polish order allowed Polish citizens to return to Poland.  My uncle returned with his wife and niece who was subsequently born.
Ruchel and I could not return, we bribed the consulate in Russia for papers.
After the war, I worked in a hospital, and returned back by foot to Asuna (a little village) where my family members had been killed.  There I arrange to have my sisters, Beila and Mina, her baby, and my uncle, be buried in a Jewish cemetery. 
There was only enough wood to make two caskets.  The Russians gave me a wagon with horses to take them.  I am very happy that they are buried in a Jewish cemetery.  I never returned there.
On Pesach (Passover) 1945, I came home.  The whole city was burned, everything was flattened. 
I was only able to find the basement of our house.
I learned that my mother and father were killed but I don’t know where they were buried.  I was told that they were buried somewhere near the Jewish cemetery.
What DP Camp were you after the war?
I took a train from Latvia to Poland, then I went by foot, and then by bus to get to Germany. My goal was to get to Israel via Germany. I made it to the American zone in Germany. I lived in Bad Reichenhal for four years. I did not go to Israel however because my family in Israel wrote to me saying that conditions In Israel were very poor in 1948.
When did you come to the United States?
October 1949
Where did you settle?
First in New York then Detroit
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My husband’s uncle Morris Kohn and Aunt Rosa Siegelbaumm brought us to Detroit.
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
In Displaced Persons (DP) Camp, Bad Reichenhall, Germany, June 26, 1948
Sandor Ungar, Metal worker and mechanic
Sara, Barbara, David
Thirteen and Twenty one great grandchildren
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was very young. I believe that there is a G-d in heaven. I was looking for a religious boy to continue a religious life.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Stay by your religion. Do everything that you can for your fellow Jew, do the best that you can for all people.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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