Bearing Witness through the Voices of our Survivors





Rabbi Peretz Weizman Memorial Exhibit CaseRabbi Peretz Weizman Memorial Exhibit Case

Rabbi Peretz Weizman Memorial Exhibit Case
Before entering the Holocaust Education Centre, visitors will visit the Rabbi Peretz Weizman Memorial Exhibit Case to get a preview of the exhibits through the prism of Rabbi Weizman's experiences and family tragedies. The Weizman exhibit is divided into three themes which are explained through photographs, documents, and artifacts with textual amplifications.

First, the exhibits profile the pre war life of the Jewish people before World War II including the deepening persecution of the Jews in the early years of Nazi power in Germany. Artifacts in this section include religious and secular objects such as Sabbath candlesticks and passports contributed by Survivors and their families. Photographs and explanatory help explain their significance.

Second, a display on Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) shows the significance of this first use of Nazi violence on a mass scale which foreshadowed the seizure of people from their homes and families, and their impending destruction. The Holocaust Education Centre draws on the rich collection of artifacts contributed by survivors who lived all over Europe, from France in the West to the Soviet Union in the East, to illustrate the fate of Jews in this terrible period.

Third, the display focuses on the experience of Rabbi Weizman and his family presented both for itself and as an example of what visitors will learn more fully inside. The Weizman family has generously provided a wide selection of pre-war, wartime, and post-war artifacts, documents, and photographs, some of which are displayed here. These include pre-war family documents such as marriage and birth certificates, and account books from the Weizman pre-war pharmaceutical and chemical supply house. From the period of Nazi control, there is family correspondence from the Lodz and other ghettos written in Yiddish, Polish, and German, and identification cards issued by the Ghetto Employment Office. There are post-war materials from Poland as well as photographs, documents, and books from Rabbi Weizman's fifty years of service to the Winnipeg. Jewish community.

-Dr. Daniel Stone, President, Jewish Heritage Centre


Star and MedalsStar and Medals

Samuel Reisman was involved in the Resistance movement in Belgium during World War II. As in other countries occupied by the Nazi regime, Jews in Belgium were forced to wear the yellow Star of David, so that they could be easily identified from the rest of the population. This is the Star of David that Samuel Reisman wore. Reisman was eventually arrested (one day after his son's first birthday) for his Resistance activity, imprisoned at the St-Gilles jail, in Brussels, and then sent to Breendonck concentration camp in Belgium, where he was tortured. Later, he was sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, still as a political prisoner. There, as he spoke many European languages, he was used as an interpreter, which permitted him some freedom of movement. It allowed him to give the Jewish children who had come from Auschwitz, access to the political prisoners' camp in order to be better fed.

At one point, an SS officer informed Reisman that he had been condemned to be hanged the following day for allowing Jewish children to enter the compound, where the political prisoners lived. To save him, the SS officer took Reisman to the salt mine, where he hid for quite awhile. The officer would come from time to time to give him food. After awhile, the SS came for him, gave him his revolver and declared himself Reisman's prisoner, as Buchenwald had been liberated.
The Belgian government awarded Samuel Reisman with the ordre de Léopold II avec croix de guerre - Order of Leopold II – Cross of War, which was the second highest medal awarded for military valour in Belgium at the time.

Yellow Star of David inscribed with the "J" (in Belgium this would stand for both "Jood" and "Juif" –or Jew in the two official languages of Belgium) also belonged to Mr. Reisman. The Nazis decreed that this must be worn by all Jews as a means of identification, and a symbol of shame. It was first introduced in Germany in September of 1941.


Ghetto ArtifactsGhetto Artifacts

Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) from the Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto. It was taken from a pile of talleisim by Martha Mannsbach, one of the few survivors of the ghetto, who kept it in memory of those who perished. Martha was in Theresienstadt in 1942 and remained there until the ghetto was liberated in 1945. (Centre)

Copy of a postcard sent by Dina Steinberg from Izbicka concentration camp, near Lublin where she was imprisoned, to her sister in law Martha Mannsbach. The card reads,"I am well, everything is fine, thanks for the parcel, Dinchen Izbickda, July 26, 1942. The initials are those of a camp officer, approving the contents of the card before it was sent. Dina did not survive Izbicka. Martha gave the postcard to a non-Jewish friend when she herself was transported to Theresientstadt Ghetto, later in 1942. It was returned to her after the war. (Centre, upper row, under tallit)

Ghetto newspaper – (upper right)

Work identity cards issued to residents of the Lodz Ghetto. People had to carry the cards with them at all times. When the Germans occupied the Polish city of Lodz, they changed its name to Litzmannstadt after the German general who led the occupying forces. (Lower row, left and centre)

Camp inmates were also given soaps like this. They were told the soap was made from human fat; this was not in fact, the case. However, telling them so was yet one more of the many means employed o dehumanize and humiliate prisoners.

Plynth (rectangular shaper riser) (right)


Handkerchief and wallet collected after liberation, from the storage area at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Germany by Mendel Stzernfeld (upper left)

Soap given to Camp inmates (right)

Soap made from stone at Dachau Concentration Camp


Helmet and CartoonHelmet and Cartoon

The cartoon celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany, a form of Fascism which originally fused German ultra nationalism with socialist elements. When it took power in 1933, however, the Nazis persecuted Socialists as well as Jews for their alleged role in the defeat of Germany in the First World War. Based on racial pseudo-science, the Nazis wanted to annihilate harmful "races" such as the Jews and Roma and subordinate inferior "races" such as the Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and Serbs. The Nazi state provoked World War II by trying to regain territories it lost after World War I and then working to create a German empire in Europe.

The German helmet was brought back by a Canadian soldier and donated to our museum.


Kiek and Goszer CaseKiek and Goszer Case

The experiences of the Maurits Kiek and Marianne Manheim Kiek are typical of Holocaust tragedies in that they and approximately 100 family members were forced to wear the Jewish Star, lost their homes and business, lived in a ghetto, and finally were murdered by the Nazis. Their experiences are also unusual because the legal system of the occupied Netherlands provided more documentation than the occupation regimes in eastern Europe provided. As a result, we have a clear picture of the Nazi machine at work.

The Kieks' two daughters survived. Estella married a non-Jewish man before the war and escaped Nazi attention, even she wore the Jewish star throughout the occupation. Carla procured false papers and worked as a maid in northern Holland. Estella's daughter, Carla Divinsky, lives in Winnipeg.

Maurits Kiek wrote verse in his spare time. This personally illustrated album contained verses written by different relatives as advice to the Kieks's newly-born daughter when she was born in 1920. Maurits's verses lovingly urge her to be obedient and work hard in school. (Centre)

The handwritten sheet of paper as a fragment of speech that Maurits made at Estella's wedding. It tells about how her parents, Marianne and Maurits, met. (Top centre)

Photograph of Maurits Kiek standing in front of the modest neighbourhood shop in Hilversum, a distant suburb of Amsterdam that he opened in 1932. He was a goldsmith, silversmith, watch repairman, and optician. (Bottom centre)

Maurits Kiek also enjoyed making sketches in his spare time such as this sketch of a Dutch castle. Kiek was a relative of the noted Dutch-Jewish artist, Josef Israels.
(Left, third row from top)

Photograph Maurits and Marianne Manheim Kiek at the wedding of their daughter, Estella, in Hilversum, Netherlands in 1937, a happy occasion in their calm pre-war existence. (Top left)

As these pre-war photographs show, the Kieks spent their holidays at the beach with friends and family, including their first grandchild. (Left, second row from top)

Photograph of Maurits Kiek and several cousins taken after May 1942 when Jews were required to wear a yellow Star of David prominently. (Right, second row from top).

Eugene Josef – one of the 1000 orphans accepted by Canada who made Winnipeg their home and a member of ANAV c.1950 in Canada (bottom right)

Barbara Goldfischer Schneid Goszer was born in Lwów, Poland, the daughter of Sali and Shulim and sister of Antonina. In her own words, she led "a dreamlike childhood…a privileged and often indulged child of an upper middle class family." This all changed with the outbreak of World War II Ghetto life in Lwów was brutal, but at least the family was still together. This changed tragically in August of 1942 when Barbara's adored sister was swept up in an Aktion along with her cousin Thea and sent to Belzec where they were gassed. Barbara hid in various places, including a bunker that her father and uncle had built and a shelf over a bathtub where she would spend 15 to 18 hours at a time. Finally, her father arranged for her to be spirited out of the Ghetto, to be hidden with a Catholic family.

After the war, she travelled across Europe in the hope of finding surviving family members, but to no avail. At the same time, she worked on catching up on the years of education that she had lost during the war years. Eventually, she boarded a ship for Canada, as one of 1000 orphans permitted to enter Canada through the efforts of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Barbara arrived in Canada on January 13, 1948 at Halifax, Nova Scotia. On January 16, 1948, she arrived at Winnipeg with a small group of other young people under the age of 18. She has been very involved in community and outreach work and is one of the founders of the Freeman Family Holocaust Education Centre and was its first chair.

Sali and Shulim Goldfischer on holiday in Jaremcze, Poland, 1937.The Goldfischers managed to arrange for their youngest daughter Barbara to live with a non-Jewish family, posing as their daughter, The rest of the family was sent to the Lwów Ghetto. None of them survived. (Left)

Sisters Tonia and Barbara Goldfischer, ages 14 and 8, Ywonicz, Poland, 1938. The family had gone to the resort and health spa as Barbara was recovering from scarlet fever (Centre ledge upper).

Fourteen-year old Barbara Goldfischer along with her gentile school friends, Nisko Poland, August 1944. None of her friends knew or found out that Barbara was from a Jewish family (Centre ledge, lower).

Barbara Goldfischer , Phyllis Newman and two friends a St. John's Park, Winnipeg, Spring 1948. All four of them arrived in Winnipeg in January 1948 with one of the war orphan groups (Ledge – right).

Adam Goszer was born in Korzec, Poland, the son of Pesel and Eliyahu Goszer and brother of Rachel and Boris. From July to September of 1941, he was in the Korzec Ghetto and worked as a labourer in the sugar factory. He went into hiding in September of 1941 in Budki Ostenski until the beginning of 1942, thanks to the help of Wanda and Jŏzek Wienckowski. He then joined the Shitowski Otriad of Partisans, whose activities included blowing up railroads, sabotaging military transports and Nazi-occupied stations.

Adam Goszer with two Russian soldiers when Gliwice Poland was liberated in 1945. (ledge-bottom right)


Boxcar Doors – Entry to the Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education CentreBoxcar Doors – Entry to the Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre

At least 2,000 students from fifty schools walk through the replica of the boxcar doors each year to see the exhibits and hear presentations, usually by Survivors, about the Holocaust and the need to build a society that is free from racism and other forms of discrimination. The boxcar doors are kept open at other times so individuals can visit on their own. The footsteps in front of the doors symbolize how closely crowded people were as they were transported from the ghettos and camps, towns and villages throughout Europe, and even remote Mediterranean islands in railway cars to the death camps. On the far wall is an image of the infamous Auschwitz Concentration Camp where 1.1 million people were murdered, most of them Jews.


Samuel and Sylvia JarniewskiSamuel and Sylvia Jarniewski

Through the life my father Samuel Jarniewski, led, he defined for me the very essence of the human spirit, of undying hope and belief in the future. The Holocaust robbed him of every member of his family, of his wife and of his young son whom fate decreed he would never to see or touch. His life after the Holocaust was touched over and over again with tragedy, and yet he continued - as always - to lead a productive and positive life filled with the joy of everyday living. His legacy to me was the knowledge that all of us have within our souls the strength to overcome whatever difficulties and even tragedies that life may have in store for us.

Having been conscripted into the Polish army, my father was taken prisoner by the third week of World War II, at the age of 32. He left behind his pregnant wife, his father, a Torah scribe, his three sisters and two brothers. His mother had succumbed to the influenza epidemic that had occurred when he was a child. The Jewish POW's were soon separated from the others and my father was sent to a succession of concentration camps including the infamous Plaszow, portrayed in the movie Schindler's List. At the end of the war, having survived six years of incarceration in camp after camp, torture and unspeakable horror, he was liberated from Dachau Concentration Camp. By then, he had lost his entire family and extended family, including his wife and the infant child, Moyshele, whom he had never seen. Other than his brother Wolf, who perished in a bombing raid of their town, Zelwa, all of the other family members were sent to Treblinka where they were murdered. My father maintained lifelong friendships with those whom he had met in the camps. More than one credited him with saving their lives. He arrived in Canada in 1948 and built a new life with a young widow and fellow Holocaust survivor, my mother. They were introduced by mutual friends.

My mother, Sylvia Wartcka, was born in Lodz, Poland into a secular home. She was an avid student who dreamed of becoming a teacher one day. The war put an end to her plans. At the age of 14, she was herded into the Lodz ghetto along with her parents and younger brother, Natan. Natan was taken in an Aktzion in 1941 and sent to Chelmno where he was gassed upon arrival. Her parents died within five months of each other in 1942 of starvation and she was left alone in the ghetto. In 1944, when the ghetto was liquidated, she was sent to Auschwitz. After one month, through her courage and sheer nerve, she managed to get herself into a transport to another camp – Halbstadt, a sub-camp of Groβ Rosen, from which she was liberated at the end of the war. She married Heinrich Bywalski in a DP camp in Germany. Tragically, he died in an accident when she was eight months pregnant with my brother. Arriving in Canada in 1950, two months before the great flood, she started her life anew, marrying my father in 1952.
-Belle Jarniewski Millo

Jarniewski Family photo prewar- Date unknown. Samuel (at far right) and his brothers Wolf (Welvel), and Motel and younger sister Dobe Rochel. Two older sisters are not pictured. Samuel was the only member of his family to survive. Wolf was killed earlier in the war, in an aerial bombing of Zelwa. His father Isaac Leib had to bury him himself. All other members of the family were taken to Treblinka where they perished. (top left)

Photo- Sylvia Jarniewski, nee Zosia Warcka and her sister Guta in Munich 1945 (top right)

Certification dated July 13, 1945 that Samuel Jarniewski was detained in Dachau Concentration Camp from October 10, 1944 to the date of liberation. The document is stamped by UNRA and an American official. On the reverse of the document is a photo of Samuel Jarniewski in concentration camp uniform. (bottom left)

Document issued y the American army releasing Samuel Jarniewski from Dachau Concentration Camp. It is signed by an agent of UNRA, by a Polish liaison officer, by an American official and by an American special agent. Note that the sentence, ""internee is to be turned over to his government for repatriation" is crossed out. (Bottom right)



Affidavit filed in Lodz Poland on April 5, 1948 by Jakob Ratny and Jakob Wolsztejn, attesting to the fact that Samuel Jarniewski, who had no identity papers after the war, is who he claims to be, giving details of place of birth (Zelwa, Poland) and his parentage – father Isaac Leib Jarniewski and mother Elka Epstein Jarniewski. (top left)

Document outlining the forced labour and concentration camps where Samuel Jarniewski was interned. (Top right)

UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration document Loan US Bureau of Documents and Tracing, Munich, dated January 1947. Document detailing details of internment of Samuel Jarniewski in Dachau, including prisoner number, markings (red triangle denoting political prisoner). Centre left)

Certificate issued by Feldafing camp officials that Samuel Jarniewski was imprisoned under Nazi rule as a political prisoner in Dachau Concntration Camp and listing his prisoner number. There is a postwar photo is affixed and the document is dated September 9, 1945. Centre middle)

Concentration Camp Questionnaire in German and in English filled out by Samuel Jarniewski. The document lists the reason for his arrest as being a member of the "German/Polish war", and then lists all labour and concentration camps that he was in and describes him as a "member of Jewish nationality". The questionnaire is typed in English but my father would not have known English at that time, so someone must have translated his answers. The document is stamped by an American lieutenant adjutant, a special agent and an UNRA director. (Centre right)

Photo - Samuel Jarniewski in postwar photo c. 1946 with fellow survivors (Bottom centre)


The Rubenfeld StoryThe Rubenfeld Story

We were born in Belfort, France. My family (father David Hirsh, mother Cyla, brother Georges and sister Rachel) was very much integrated in French life. We had French friends and went to school. Life in France was good. There were no restraints as to where Jews could live.

Our parents were very artistic and very avant-garde. They wanted their children to learn and achieve their potential. When Georges was six our parents started him on violin. Rachel and I also started playing the piano and violin. The three of us learned different kinds of folk dancing such as French, Russian and Hungarian. We became known as prodigies…and were called upon to perform at school concerts. In addition, we gave our own concerts.

In 1942, the Germans occupied all of France. Jews had to register their names and addresses. Once we had registered, another order came to send Jews to "résidences forcées" (forced residence). We were assigned a place to live and were not allowed to move from there. This was one way for the Nazis to keep track of Jews…We had to go the place we were assigned, a house in the country. We were allowed two empty rooms. The place had no electricity, no running water and no bathroom. Some farmers gave us an old wooden stove, a table and chairs and a few pots and pans. We had to draw water from a well and for a bathroom we had an outhouse which had to be cleaned every week. Behind our house was a forest which was very scary for us city people. At night it was pitch dark and full of noises and shadows.

During this time we got some instruments. We also wanted to help French prisoners-of-war and to this end we participated in a benefit concert organized by the nearby university. We accepted even though we were in a "résidence forcée."

The huge hall in which the concert took place was full except for two empty rows at the front. Everyone was speculating and wondering why that was the case. It became quite clear when all of a sudden twenty-five Nazi officers marched into the hall and took the reserved seats. We were very scared. We didn't know if we should perform. Even though we had shortened our name (to Rubin) we felt we were in danger. We had a meeting with the Dean of the university, wondering whether we should do our number. Because our name was on the program, our absence would have been noted. Therefore we decided to go on. After we finished someone took us to a car and whisked us away back to the country. It was very similar to the Von Trapp family situation which was dramatized in The Sound of Music, except no movie was made of this episode.
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)

Poster and program for benefit concert in aid of French prisoners-of-war featuring the Rubin (Rubenfeld) Trio with their repertoire of music, dance and song, 1942
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)

Poster for concert in Belfort, France featuring the Rubenfeld Trio, c.1938
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)

Accordion (organola) and case dating back to the late 1930s. Regine and Rachel Rubenfeld played this accordion as part of the Rubenfeld Trio act which also included their brother Georges.
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)

The Rubenfeld family, Belfort, France, 1950
From left to right: David Hirsh, Rachelle, Georges, Cyla
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)

The Rubenfeld Trio, Belfort, France, 1937
From left to right: Regine, Rachelle and Georges
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)

Activists in the resistance movement in France
Georges Rubenfeld is second from right
(Courtesy of the Rubenfeld family)


Weizman ArtifactsWeizman Artifacts

Top Row – left- Photo of Rabbi Peretz Weizman and his wife, Rivka in Germany prior to their departure to Winnipeg in 1953.

Right-Commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Rabbi Weizman is third from the right. Taken in 1972, the photo commemorates the annual ceremony at the start of Shoah week when Enniskillen Avenue is renamed "Avenue of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes."

Second and third rows- Artifacts donated by Rabbi Weizman including: an account book from the pharmaceutical supply house that the Weizman family had run before the war listing purchases and prices of various pharmaceutical items; postcards and letters in Yiddish, Polish and German; a "Family Book", which included marriage and birth certificates; a prayer book from the Lodz Ghetto that had belonged to Rabbi Weizman's brother, Jeshua, who perished in the Holocaust; and Rabbi Weizman's own school prayer book from the Lodz ghetto (c. 1941).


Weizman FamilyWeizman Family

Three generations of the Weizman family, Lodz Ghetto, 1942. Sadly, almost all were eventually murdered. Peretz Weizman is standing, second from the right.





Silver Items

Silver Items on Loan from Belle Jarniewski

After surviving the Holocaust, the late,Samuel Jarniewski, worked for a flatware company in Germany before coming to Canada. His job was to purchase sterling silver objects from the local German population. These objects were to be melted down and made into sterling silver flatware. Certain objects caught my father's eye, however, and he decided to purchase them for himself, rather than allowing them to be melted down. He never spoke about the people from whom he had purchased the objects. The first item speaks for itself; it is a Hanukkiah – a menorah used during the eight days of Hanukkah. Clearly, this object, and most of the others, had been looted by the Nazis from their Jewish owners. I often wonder how my late father must have felt as he looked at these people as he made the transaction, wondering whether they had looted the object themselves and indeed, just what they had done between 1929 and 1945…

The second item is a silver tzedakah box: Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for charity, which is a fundamental tenet in Judaism; charity is considered to be an act of justice. Traditionally, families would give children money to put in the tzedakah box just before the Sabbath.

The third item is a beautiful item, whose use is not clear. It is made of sterling silver, ivory and coral.

The fourth item is a sterling silver baptismal shell.

Silver Items Donated by the late Albert Hazan (top right)

Albert Hazan's mother was deported from The Netherlands to Auschwitz where she was a slave labourer in a munitions factory. In the last two months of the war, she was sent to Neustadt/Cleve, from which she was eventually liberated by the American army. The first thing she did when the Americans began to distribute food to the starving prisoners was to go to the German officers mess to get a knife, spoon and fork. She brought these back with her on her return to The Netherlands and kept them in a drawer with the rest of her household cutlery; however they were never used or talked about.

Several years before she died, she gave son, Albert, the knife with the swastika and the silver spoon with the Neustadt/Cleve insignia. The fork had been lost during the many moves during the war. She explained that the reason she had taken the cutlery was to retain her dignity as a human being. As she ate her first bit of food by the American soldiers with her utensils, the cutlery symbolized her moment of being freed from the horrors of the Holocaust and a new beginning of her life.