Hela Jutkiewicz

"Be good people. Live good lives and to make sure it never happens again."

Name at birth
Chaya Czosniak
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Lodz, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Yitzchak Ephraim
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Rivka Epshtein
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and six children: Basha, Guta, Chaya (me), Hershel, Shlomo, and Paltiel (Paul)
How many in entire extended family?
We had a large family.
Who survived the Holocaust?
Paul, Guta and me. Guta died in 2006 and Paul lives in Toronto.
I worked in a straw factory in the Lodz Ghetto.  My father, my brothers, Shlomo and Hershel, and my sister Basha and her young family all were killed in the ghetto.  Basha had two children.  The Germans took one her children by its feet and smashed her head.  Basha was made to see this. After that, nothing interested her in life anymore.  

In 1944, the Lodz Ghetto was to become “Judenrein,” (free of Jews).  There was no place to hide.  My mother, my sister Guta, and I were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau by cattle train.  When we arrived at Auschwitz, there was a Selection.  My sister and I survived the Selection but my mother tragically, was sent to the gas chamber.  

After Auschwitz, Guta and I were taken to a city near Hamburg, Germany where we worked until January, 1945.  We worked in the streets clearing rubble.  I remember once someone threw us an apple and a piece of bread.  We were always hungry.  From there, we were taken to Bergen-Belsen by train.  One more week at Bergen-Belsen and we all would have been dead.  I was together throughout with my sister, Guta.

Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
What DP Camp were you after the war?
Yes, in Feldefing, Germany. I helped the Jewish children. I met my husband there.
Where did you go after being liberated?
We then went to Paris, France where I had an uncle.
When did you come to the United States?
How is it that you came to Michigan?
My sister Guta was living in Detroit
When and where were you married?
1946 in Feldefing, Germany, DP Camp.
Sam Jutkiewicz (Shmuel Hershl), Painter.
Regina and William
What do you think helped you to survive?
Just life, I tried to survive. I don’t know, just luck. I ask why I’m so lucky, so many passed away. I ask, why me? I don’t know. Why do we have to suffer so much? Isn’t it enough for us?
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Be good people. Live good lives and to make sure it never happens again.

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