Pauline Sztarkman

"It is always trouble for the Jews."

Name at birth
Pauline Gersztman
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Holoby, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Mordechai, Business
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Geitel, Seamstress
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents, Hannah, me, Sam, Abraham, Jerry and Helen
How many in entire extended family?
Large extended family
Who survived the Holocaust?
Only immediate family
When the Germans invaded Poland, my brothers Sam, Abraham, and I fled across the border to Ukraine.  The Ukrainians separated the men from the women. I lost track of my brothers.  My parents and my remaining siblings were hidden in a barn in Poland for four years. 
I was on my own in Ukraine where I hid and slept in parks. I was offered work in “deep Russia” by a wealthy family.  I did farm work.  I learned to drive a train.  When the Germans came into Russia, I had to hide and walk.
I went back to Poland at the end of the war and was reunited with my family.  I married briefly and then divorced.  The family later came to the United States.  The siblings remained close despite going to different parts of the United States.  One brother, Abraham, remained in Russia.  I raised two daughters and am very proud of my two grandsons. 
Where were you in hiding?
Ukraine and Russia
Where did you go after being liberated?
Where did you settle?
Detroit, Michigan
How is it that you came to Michigan?
I had relatives here in Detroit
Occupation after the war
When and where were you married?
I married my first husband in the Ukraine and my second husband in Detroit
Rae, homemaker Ellen, career woman
Two grandsons
What do you think helped you to survive?
I was always strong and well-liked.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
It is always trouble for the Jews.
Charles Silow
Interview date:


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