Holocaust Personal Histories Story Board

Holocaust Personal Histories Story Board

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  • Pola was born to a Jewish family in a small town in Poland about three miles from the German border. Her family had lived there for generations. Pola’s father exported geese and other goods to Germany; her mother owned a fabric store.
  • 1933–39: In 1937 Pola began secondary school in the town of Suwalki. She excelled in math, and hoped to study engineering and oil exploration at the university.
  • When World War II began in September 1939, Pola and her father went to a town about 40 miles away to hide some of Pola’s mother’s valuable fabrics. Then the Nussbaums escaped east towards the Soviet border.
  • 1940–42: By 1941 the family was in the Slonim ghetto. Pola’s mother slipped her daughters Pola and Lisa out to a Christian friend in town who refused to hide them and sent the girls to the forest. There they came across Jews being shot into pits. Found by a forester, they were marched to the line of those waiting to be killed but managed to flee.
  • The forester shot at them but missed. Then he threw his axe and hit Pola’s leg. The sisters ran to town where a Christian woman hid them in a sofa-bed until the massacre ended.
  • On June 29, 1942, Pola was shot to death while attempting to escape under the ghetto fence. She was 19. 
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