Fidelman, Shoshana

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Fidelman, Shoshana

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        Shoshana Fidelman was born in 1933, to parents Shlomo Dov Ejnesman (b. circa 1908, d. 1944) and Rakhel (Rukla, Rivka, Rozia) Kornwaser (b. circa 1908, d. 1945). Shlomo, a leather-goods dealer, and Rakhel were cousins. They were married in 1929, and had three children: daughters Lea (b. 1931, d. 1944) and Shoshana, and a son, Noakh Khaim (b. 1935, d. 1944). Shlomo was one of seven children, and Rakhel was one of eight children. The family lived in Starachowice, Poland, then the Wierzbnik ghetto, where they were forced to move in 1939. The Wierzbnik ghetto was liquidated on October 27, 1942. The night prior to the liquidation, Shoshana and her family moved from the ghetto to the Starachowice factory slave labour camp where her father was on the Jewish camp council.

        Just prior to the camp’s evacuation in July 1944, a group of camp internees planned and executed a mass escape attempt. Shlomo managed to escape but was later killed, likely in a nearby forest. Shoshana’s two siblings, Lea and Noakh Khaim, were killed during the attempt. Shoshana recalls that she and her mother saw the body of her brother and likely the body of her sister as they were being evacuated from the slave labour camp and put on a train destined for Auschwitz-Birkenau. In Auschwitz-Birkenau, she and her mother received numbered tattoos. After Auschwitz was liberated, Shoshana and her mother returned by train to Starachowice-Wierzbnik to search for relatives but the only person who came back was her uncle, Noah Ejnesman, who returned at around the same time as them.

        The Jewish survivors who returned congregated together in a few homes in Starachowice-Wierzbnik. On June 19, 1945, Shoshana and her mother were in a home with Sara Wolfowich and her two sons, when three Poles entered the home and shot Rakhel and the Wolfowiches. Shoshana was shot in the pogrom but survived. Her uncle Noah took her to the hospital and, the next day, he was also murdered by Polish anti-Semites. A total of eleven Jews from Wierzbnik, Wąchock and Bodzentyn were killed by Poles after they returned to Poland at the end of the war. After two months in the hospital, Shoshana was taken to a farm in the countryside to recover, where a distant relative came to get her, and put her in an orphanage in Łódź.

        Shoshana Fidelman worked as a nurse. She immigrated to Canada in 1967 with her husband, Moshe, and their two daughters. They lived in Lethbridge and Calgary, and later moved to White Rock and Surrey.

        Shoshana Fidelman removed her tattooed number in 1987, after people in Canada kept asking her why she had her phone number on her arm. In 2008 she gave an interview about her experiences to Holocaust historian Christopher R. Browning. Shoshana Fidelman lives in Surrey, BC.


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