Henia Ciesla

"They should live as Jews and protect one another and believe in G-d. Respect one another."

Name at birth
Henia Perlman
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Name of father, occupation
Myer Perlman, Owned an orchard
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Gitel Bialagorsky, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, 3 children: Ruchel, Dovid, Henia. Children from mother's 1st marriage: Mattel, Bayla, Etel, Noach, Barish. From father's 1st marriage: Toba Reizel and 5 sons. Total of fourteen children.
How many in entire extended family?
Who survived the Holocaust?
Me and Toba Reizel who left for Toronto before the war. No other siblings survived. Perhaps about ten of the extended cousins survived.
I was living at home with the blended family.  Germans came to Kielce and made a ghetto.  I was in the ghetto with my family.  My two sisters, a niece, and I fled from the ghetto with others to the forest. After nine months, conditions in the forest were bad and so they left.  Everyone was machine gunned to death, I survived.  I went back to the ghetto in Kielce, my family was all gone.  I turned myself in to the Germans.   From the ghetto, I was taken to Auschwitz.  
I later worked in an ammunitions factory.  I went from camp to camp and was liberated by the United States Army in Ravensbrück.  The Germans had disappeared in the night. I returned to Kielce, the houses were leveled.  I had intended to go to Israel, but I met my husband in Kielce in 1945.  
The infamous Kielce pogrom began two houses down from where they lived.  I was not feeling well; I was pregnant and was on a train returning from Warsaw with my cousin Sarah Cooperman following a doctor’s visit.  The train was coming into Kielce.  We were afraid to get off the train; we heard that there was a Pogrom taking place in Kielce.  My cousin convinced the conductor to give us tickets to go farther than Kielce.
After the Pogrom, we escaped from Kielce to a DP Camp in Eggenfelden, Germany.  Rosa was born in 1947 in Pfarrkron (Pfarrkirchen) as they heard rumors that Jewish babies were not being born alive in Eggenfelden.  Our middle daughter, Rochel Leah was born in 1948.  We were looking to get out of Europe, the JDC found a sponsor for us in Detroit.  We arrived by ship to New York and then went to Detroit in 1950.  
Name of Ghetto(s)
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Where were you in hiding?
Forests around Kielce
Occupation after the war
Israel Ciesla (deceased), Henry Lewin, Tailor, Businessman
Rosa, Rochelle, and Miriam
Five: Mark, Elana, Sara, Yisroel, and Aaron Dovid Eighteen great-grandchildren
What do you think helped you to survive?
Courage and hope to tell people what happened.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
They should live as Jews and protect one another and believe in G-d. Respect one another.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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