Biographic Profiles

This section features biographies of the fifty-one Holocaust survivors and other witnesses whose testimonies are woven into the Echoes and Reflections lessons. The biographies provide additional insight into the lives of these individuals, offering details about their pre-war, wartime, and post-war experiences. The one-page profiles include interactive links, which add further historical context to this resource.

Clicking on a lesson below will take you to the biographic profiles of the survivors and other witnesses featured in that particular lesson.

  • Lesson 1Lesson 1 ( Hide Details ) Kurt Messerschmidt Kurt Messerschmidt (.pdf)

    Kurt Messerschmidt was born on January 2, 1915, in Werneuchen, Germany, and was raised by his mother, Else. Kurt moved with his mother to Berlin in 1918…

  • Lesson 2Lesson 2 ( Hide Details ) John Graham John Graham (.pdf)

    John Ian Graham was born Jolly Iso Gismann to Helena (Grünbaum) and Hermann Gismann on May 22, 1920, in Berlin, Germany. John and his older sister, Rita, grew up in Berlin.

    Heinz Henry Sinason Heinz Henry Sinason (.pdf)

    Heinz Henry Sinason was born Heinz Sinasohn to Harry and Selma Sinasohn on August 26, 1925, in Berlin, Germany…

    Margaret Lambert Margaret Lambert (.pdf)

    Margaret Lambert was born to Edwin and Paula Bergmann on April 12, 1914, in Laupheim, Germany. She had two brothers, Rudolph and Walter…

    Henry Laurant Henry Laurant (.pdf)

    Henry Laurant was born Hans Werner Levy to Walter and Erna Levy on May 28, 1924, in Köigsberg, Germany…

    Judith Becker Judith Becker (.pdf)

    Judith Becker was born Judith Berger on September 8, 1928, in Stettin, Germany, to Ephraim and Pepi Berger, who were both of Polish descent.…

    Esther Clifford Esther Clifford (.pdf)

    Esther Clifford was the youngest of five children born to Abraham and Selda (Sophie) Ebe on December 5, 1920, in Munich, Germany. Originally from Poland…

  • Lesson 3Lesson 3 ( Hide Details ) Alfred Caro Alfred Caro (.pdf)

    Alfred Caro was born July 27, 1911, to Sally and Frida Caro in Szamotuly, Poland. The family then moved to Berlin, Germany…

    Frank Shurman Frank Shurman (.pdf)

    Frank Shurman was born Fritz Shürmann on January 8, 1915, in Hildesheim, Germany, to Willy and Alma Schürmann. He had two sisters, Edith and Hanne-Lore…

    Julia Lentini Julia Lentini (.pdf)

    Julia Lentini was born to Ludwig and Johanna Bäcker on April 15, 1926, in Eisern, Germany. Julia and her fourteen siblings spent their summer months traveling with their parents…

    Herman Cohn Herman Cohn (.pdf)

    Herman Cohn was born to Ilonka and Siegfried Cohn on September 8, 1921, in Essen, Germany. While giving birth to Herman’s younger brother, Walter, Herman’s mother passed away, and the two boys were raised by their stepmother, Theresa…

    Margaret Lambert Margaret Lambert (.pdf)

    Margaret Lambert was born to Edwin and Paula Bergmann on April 12, 1914, in Laupheim, Germany. She had two brothers, Rudolph and Walter…

    Esther Clifford Esther Clifford (.pdf)

    Esther Clifford was the youngest of five children born to Abraham and Selda (Sophie) Ebe on December 5, 1920, in Munich, Germany. Originally from Poland…

    Alfred Gottschalk Alfred Gottschalk (.pdf)

    Alfred Gottschalk was born in Oberwesel, Germany, on March 7, 1930. His father, Max Gottschalk, was a livestock farmer, and his mother, Erna, was a homemaker…

    Ellen Brandt Ellen Brandt (.pdf)

    Ellen Brandt, born on May 10, 1922, in Mannheim, Germany, was the only child of Mathilda and Guido Friedsam. Ellen’s father served in the German military and was a decorated…

  • Lesson 4Lesson 4 ( Hide Details ) Ellis Lewin Ellis Lewin (.pdf)

    Ellis Lewin was born May 22, 1932, in Lodz, Poland, to Josef and Chana Lewin. He had an older sister, Mariym. Ellis hoped one day to become a musician like his father…

    Joseph Morton Joseph Morton (.pdf)

    Joseph Morton was born Joseph Mortkowitz on July 11, 1924, in Lodz, Poland, to Chaskel and Zisla Mortkowitz…

    Leo Berkenwald Leo Berkenwald (.pdf)

    Leo Berkenwald, whose Hebrew name is Chaim Lajb Berkenwald, was born on August 31, 1923, in Lodz, Poland, to Josef and Chana Berkenwald. He was the second of four children…

    Milton Belfer Milton Belfer (.pdf)

    Milton Belfer was born Meier Belfer to Sarah and Jacob Belfer on August 24, 1922, in Lodz, Poland…

    George Shainfarber George Shainfarber (.pdf)

    George Shainfarber was born on January 4, 1927, in Lodz, Poland, to Jacob and Sara Shainfarber. He had one sister, Shaindel…

    Eva Safferman Eva Safferman (.pdf)

    Eva Safferman was born to Zachary and Anna “Hanka” Zysman in Lodz, Poland on April 15, 1928. Eva grew up as an only child in a family that while kosher was not very religious…

  • Lesson 5Lesson 5 ( Hide Details ) Ellis Lewin Ellis Lewin (.pdf)

    Ellis Lewin was born May 22, 1932, in Lodz, Poland, to Josef and Chana Lewin. He had an older sister, Mariym. Ellis hoped one day to become a musician like his father…

    Abraham Bomba Abraham Bomba (.pdf)

    Abraham was born on June 9, 1913, to Bernard and Touba Bomba in Beuthen, Germany. The Bombas had five children and lived mostly in Czestochowa, Poland…

    Itka Zygmuntowicz Itka Zygmuntowicz (.pdf)

    Itka Zygmuntowicz, the eldest of three siblings, was born on April 15, 1926, in Ciechanow, Poland, to Eljo and Simo Frajman. She had a brother, Srulek, and a sister, Zysl…

    Nathan Offen Nathan Offen (.pdf)

    Nathan Offen was born on December 15, 1922, in Cracow, Poland, to Jacob and Gusta Offen…

  • Lesson 6Lesson 6 ( Hide Details ) Roman Kent Roman Kent (.pdf)

    Roman Kent was born Roman Kniker to Emanuel and Sonia Kniker in Lodz, Poland, on April 18, 1929. He had two older sisters, Dasza and Renia, and one younger brother, Leon…

    Helen Fagin Helen Fagin (.pdf)

    Helen N. Fagin was born February 1, 1922, to Ewa and Soloman Neimark in Radomsko, Poland. Helen had an older sister, Wanda, and a younger sister, Terry…

    Ruth Brand Ruth Brand (.pdf)

    Ruth Brand was born Rifka Szabo to Mordechai and Gitza Szabo in Cuhea, Romania in 1928. She had one younger sister, Sara, and one younger brother, Fishel…

    Mira Shelub Mira Shelub (.pdf)

    Mira Shelub was born Mira Raznov on January 13, 1922, in Zdzieciol, Poland, to Chaim and Chana Raznov. She had one sister, Sara, and one brother, Moris…

    Sol Liber Sol Liber (.pdf)

    Sol Liber was born on December 3, 1923, in Grojec, Poland, to Sana and Shayndel Liber. He had two brothers: Yitzak and Rafael, and three sisters: Esther, Schayva, and Tishel…

  • Lesson 7Lesson 7 ( Hide Details ) Arie Van Mansum Arie Van Mansum (.pdf)

    Arie Van Mansum was born March 5, 1920, in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to Gerrit and Neeltje Van Mansum. Arie had two sisters, Margeretha and Gerrie, and one brother, Gerrit Jr…

    Leslie Banos Leslie Banos (.pdf)

    Leslie Banos was born Laszlo Banos on August 16, 1923, to Bertha and Morris Banos in Nyirbator, Hungary. His father was Jewish, but his mother was not Leslie’s…

    Renee Scott Renee Scott (.pdf)

    Renee Scott was born on February 13, 1906, in Calais, France, to Albert and Jean Scott. Renee had two brothers, George and Walter, and two sisters, Yvonne and May…

    Kristine Keren Kristine Keren (.pdf)

    Kristine Keren was born Kristine Chiger in Lwow, Poland, on October 28, 1935, to Ignatcy and Paulina Chiger. She had one younger brother, Pincas. Kristine spent her early years playing in her parents’ textile store…

    Ursula Levy Ursula Levy (.pdf)

    Ursula Levy was born to Max and Lucia Levy on May 11, 1935, in Osnabrück, Germany. Prior to the war, Ursula and her older brother George lived with their parents in Lippstadt, near Muenster…

  • Lesson 8Lesson 8 ( Hide Details ) Dennis Urstein Dennis Urstein (.pdf)

    Dennis Urstein was born Adolf Urstein to Leon and Marie Urstein on February 24, 1924, in Vienna, Austria…

    Henry Mikols Henry Mikols (.pdf)

    Henry Mikols was born Henry Mikolajczak in Poznan, Poland, on August 27, 1925, to Stanislaw and Joanna Mikolajczak. He had one brother, Zbigniew, and one sister, Lubomiva…

    David Abrams David Abrams (.pdf)

    David Abrams was born David Abraham on December 8, 1928, in Dej, Romania, to Sarah and Joseph Abraham…

    Howard Cwick (.pdf)

    Howard Cwick was born in the Bronx, New York, on August 25, 1923, to Samuel and Sarah Cwick, both Polish immigrants. Howard had an older sister, Sylvia…

    Anton Mason Anton Mason (.pdf)

    Anton Mason was born Anton Meisner on April 21, 1927, in Sighet, Romania, to Maximillian and Sarah Meisner…

    Paul Parks Paul Parks (.pdf)

    Paul Parks was born May 7, 1923, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Cleab and Hazel Parks, who had met while living on a Seminole reservation in central Florida…

    Malka Baran Malka Baran (.pdf)

    Malka Baran was born on January 30, 1927, in Warsaw, Poland, the older of Izak and Bella Klin’s two children. A year later, Malka’s family moved to Czestochowa, Poland…

    Daniel Geslewitz Daniel Geslewitz (.pdf)

    Daniel Geslewitz was born Gedalia Geclewicz on August 14, 1924, in Lodz, Poland, to Yitzchak and Mirla Geclewicz. Daniel was one of seven children…

    Ester Fiszgop Ester Fiszgop (.pdf)

    Ester Fiszgop was born on January 14, 1929, in Brest, Poland, to Abraham and Rachel Fiszgop. She and her younger brother Beniek were very close…

  • Lesson 9Lesson 9 ( Hide Details ) Jan Karski Jan Karski (.pdf)

    Jan Karski was born Jan Kozielewski in 1914 in Lodz, Poland (under Russian control until 1918), to Walentina and Stefan Kozielewski…

    Dennis Urstein Dennis Urstein (.pdf)

    Dennis Urstein was born Adolf Urstein to Leon and Marie Urstein on February 24, 1924, in Vienna, Austria…

    Edith Coliver Edith Coliver (.pdf)

    Edith Coliver was born Edith Simon on July 26, 1922, to Fritz and Hedwig Simon in Karlsruhe, Germany…

    Regina Zielinski Regina Zielinski (.pdf)

    Regina Zielinski was born Regina Feldman on September 2, 1925, in Siedliszcze, Poland, to Josef and Golda Feldman. She had three brothers: Max, Paul, and Teodor, and one sister, Friedl…

    Sol Messinger Sol Messinger (.pdf)

    Sol Messinger was born Salo Messinger, the only child to Paula and Zolman “Sam” Messinger on June 16, 1932, in Berlin, Germany. Sol’s parents were Polish immigrants…

    Liesl Loeb Liesl Loeb (.pdf)

    Liesl Loeb was born on June 17, 1928, in Rheydt, Germany, the only child of Josef and Lilly (Kamin) Joseph. Liesl’s father was a successful lawyer and her mother a trained soprano…

    Brigitte Altman Brigitte Altman (.pdf)

    Brigitte Altman was born to Elias and Dina Friedmann on August 15, 1924, in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The family lived in a culturally Jewish, observant community…

  • Lesson 10Lesson 10 ( Hide Details ) Vladka Meed Vladka Meed (.pdf)

    Vladka Meed was born Vladka Peltel in 1922 in Warsaw, Poland, to Hanna and Shlomo Peltel. She had two younger siblings: Chaim and Henia…

    Roman Kent Roman Kent (.pdf)

    Roman Kent was born Roman Kniker to Emanuel and Sonia Kniker in Lodz, Poland, on April 18, 1929. He had two older sisters, Dasza and Renia, and one younger brother, Leon…

    Leo Bach Leo Bach (.pdf)

    Leo Bach was born Leon Silberbach on May 22, 1927, to Gitla and Jacob Silberbach in Cracow, Poland…

    Jan Karski Jan Karski (.pdf)

    Jan Karski was born Jan Kozielewski in 1914 in Lodz, Poland (under Russian control until 1918), to Walentina and Stefan Kozielewski…

    Joseph Berger Joseph Berger (.pdf)

    Joseph Berger was born to Imre and Ana (Goldner) Berger on September 20, 1937, in Subotica, a small town on the Hungarian-Yugoslav border but spent most of his early years…

    William McKinney William McKinney (.pdf)

    William “Bill” McKinney was born on February 1, 1923, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Ethel and Jamem McKinney, who served in the trenches in France during World War I. William and his five brothers and four sisters grew up in a large house in Pittsburgh…

View Sample Lesson and Testimony

Wow! I am so excited to use this next year! I can now easily use technology to further extend my current lessons. Wonderful!

Wilmington, Delaware English teacher


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