Wanda Dumon

"Try to be as strong. Be proud to be an American."

Name at birth
Hanorata Polak Skolimowski
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Poland / US
Name of father, occupation
Does not know – she lived in an orphanage until she ran away 7 years old.
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Who survived the Holocaust?
In the orphanage there was no food and it was abusive conditions. Her mother died when she was three. She knows nothing of her parents. Not even a picture. She lived in foster homes before the orphanage. She saw terrible things – hanging and torture, in Kelce. This lasted about two years. The family was Polish but working for Germans. She was about 12  at that time. She ran away because she was afraid all the time. Her mother’s family didn’t want her to inherit their land and they put her under a train to kill her. A boy saved her and she went to the orphanage where there was no food and she ran away. The Germans took her off the street in a boxcar because she looked Jewish, and they took  her to Allann in Germany She went to work in an ammunition factory where she scraped rust. She was mistreated there beaten, by the Germans for almost two years, not long enough to get Social Security from the Germans . Eventually she came to New York and lived in five foster homes until she married. 
She worked in the factory 12 hours every day, then back to the camp. They waited in line for food, soup, and was hungry many times. When the American soldiers came they gave her peanut butter. She never had milk or eggs.
She was beater many times and feels guilty that she wished them dead. There were bombs and he was killed and she felt bad She ran and hid in the woods. Allann was the only factory she worked in. They made bullets. The steel was rusty and she had to clean off the rust. They told her what to do and if she did it wrong, they beat her.
What kept you going? She wanted to meet her mother, to survive and some day find out who she is. When the Americans came, she was being beaten with a frying pan in the barrack. A man named Stash saw this in the window and saved her. He took her to the American women for protection.
At liberation the Americans gave them candy and ice cream. She stayed with the women American soldiers until she came to the US. Stash (who was Polish) saved her and got her to the ladies, then to the US. She never was connected to him afterward. She is grateful to God for everything.
When she went to a foster family in US, she met a man who worked for this foster family. He was a farmer and didn’t like that she wore makeup and fancy hair. He got used to it.
She first went to a convent in New Jersey in July 1945. They were not allowed to learn anything. 
Name of Concentration / Labor Camp(s)
Occupation after the war
Homemaker, hairdresser
Janusz Skolimowski; Louis Dumon, Engineer
What do you think helped you to survive?
God – she thanks him every day. They say god is good to orphans and he was too good to her. Her husband said be good to your children, and she was. She didn’t have a doll, but her children did. She will leave money to orphans in her Will.
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Try to be as strong. Be proud to be an American.
Charles Silow
Interview date:

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