Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Central Powers Heavy Hitters

What a wonderful piece of history!

All of the leaders of the Central Powers - the Germans, Austro-Hungarians, and Turks - with the Kaiser front and center.

Bottom right, the dead bear is certainly a defeated Russia, expelled from Fort Przemysl by General Mackensen, and celebrated by a German and an Austrian soldier.

Thanks to Lukasz for sending it.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Anna, a young woman in the photo

More from Anna on Przemysl during the war:
Thank you for trying to help me to find the fate of my dentist Mr. Rosenblueth and his family.

I explain to you my friendly connection with him. He attended to my teeth for a number of years, as I needed correction as a little girl of eight. I and my parents were very grateful to him and later we became friends. Unfortunately, when the Germans bombed Przemysl on 7th Sept.1939 his house was hit and burned to the ground. He only managed to save his skeleton dentist chair which he transported to my parents at Dworskiego for safe keeping.
I email Anna and asked her three questions. First, "In the photo, which one are you?"
1. I am in the photo Anna Switalska in the first row second from the left between my friend Dziunia Gottdank and Maria Jurasz. (see below)
Next, I asked, "Are you Jewish?"
2. I am Polish but I had many Jewish friends.
And finally, "How did you and your family survive the war?"

3. This is a long story. When the war started I was 15 and still a pupil at the secondary school, Gimnazjum Kupieckie at Dworskiego 25. The Russians occupied half of Przemysl up to the river San. They evicted us from our flat and we had to live for 2 whole years in the cellars while they have enjoyed living in our flat including the kitchen. They re-named the school Molotow which I attended for further 2 years. When the Germans invaded Przemysl in June 1941, the Russian fled and we were able to get back into our flat. The Germans re-named the school Hoehere Handels Fachschule which I continued to attend until matriculation.

Then suddenly my father broke his leg. The Germans did not allow to send an ambulance for Poles, so it took 3 hours to wait for a passing cart to take him to hospital with an open wound. There was only one Ukrainian doctor and no penicillin. My father got gangrene and died at the age of 60.

After his death my mother's family in Vienna arranged for my mother and me to join them. As a foreigner (born in Poland) I had to clear the streets of Vienna after bombing in order to receive ration cards for food. When the war ended I could not believe that I am still alive. Through the British Cross in Vienna I managed to trace my brother who was missing for 6 years. He fought the Germans in the South (Tobruk, Monte Cassino etc.) with the Polish Army under Gen. Anders. My mother and I went immediately to Innsbruck and went to the Polish Red Cross. We paid 10 Dollars each to be taken by foot at night through the Alps (Brenner Pass) over the border to Italy to join my brother. We met in Verona and then went to Cingolli where he was stationed. After a month he brought the message from his Headquarters that all Poles cannot return to Poland because the Russians are still there and half of Poland in Russia, but Britain allowed them to come and live in England with their families.

We traveled to Britain and I am still living here, married with two grown up sons. My husband and I visited Przemysl once and I still have some friends there and am corresponding with them.
She concluded her note with a question back to me, and to all of this blog's readers:
By the way, who sent you the photograph? Are any of my Jewish colleagues and friends in the photo still alive?

Warm regards, Anna.
Did any of the young Jewish students in the photo survive the holocaust? I don't know.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

More on the girl's school - and the Przemysl dentist -

I received an email from Anna Demby (nee Switalska,) one of the girls in this 1937 photo posted a while back:

She clears up a few missing pieces:
I am very grateful for your prompt reply. I note that you already have exactly the same photo of the girls school at Konarskiego in Przemysl. I therefore only would like to add that the missing name ".....Zofia" was Chraca Zofia and the name of the headmistress, sitting by Ela Liebich was Nowosielska, and the teacher's name sitting next to her was Hanula. We called her pani Hanulanka.
Then she asks:
Is it possible for you to find my dentist Mr. Rosenblueth who had a beautiful dental practice on the first floor in ulica Franciszkanska in Przemysl and who escaped Holocaust because he was hidden for a few years by his Polish servant. She used to come very often to my parents in ulica Dworskiego with his clothes etc. which my mother sold and gave the servant the money for Mr. Rosenblueth's upkeep.

Mr. Rosenblueth managed to send his wife and his child with other Polish women to Germany for hard labour. I am sure that he and his family must have survived the war but I do not know of their fate after the war, as after the death of my father my mother and I managed to leave Poland to Vienna. Maybe his daughter is still alive?
Does anyone remember the dentist?

Anna is now 85 years old, married and lives in England.

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