Mr. Abraham Weberman was born in Lodz, Poland in 1924. He lived with his father, Mendl, who was a self-employed tailor, and his mother, Chana, who was a shirt maker. His brother Leo was one year older than him and his sister, Anna, was six years his junior.
Mr. Weberman had a very large extended family: four grandparents, many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Lodz had a large Jewish population and two large synagogues. They only had Jewish friends and kept a Kosher home. He remembers liking the Sabbath, the food, the candle lighting, etc.
Mr. Weberman spoke both Polish and Yiddish and went to a Polish public school through the sixth grade. He then worked in a metal shop and loved playing soccer, although when the Jewish team would win, the Poles would beat them after the game.
The family heard stories about Hitler and when war began in Poland, many people left for Russia. When their town was occupied, their house was in the Ghetto so they were allowed to stay and no one moved in with them. At that time, he was fourteen and working as a plumber. There were 2,600 people in the Ghetto.
To get food, you had to use your card. Mr. Weberman’s sister sorted rags and no one attended school. Some people escaped and some other committed suicide. After a short while, they were all starving and one loaf of bread had to last for the entire week.
In 1942, the deportation began and people volunteered to leave, thinking they would receive more food wherever they were sent. Mr. Weberman was now seventeen years old and had a girlfriend, Leah, who he met at a birthday party in the ghetto. She later became his wife.
Mr. Weberman’s parent’s left the ghetto, but they told him not to go, but to stay to watch and guard their house and equipment. He was to stay with his girlfriend’s family, as a son, and he became Abraham Flamm (his registered name with the Germans), which was his wife’s family name.
From the ghetto, he and thirty-five boys were taken out to work. Mr. Weberman ran away while waiting at the train station. He hid in the chimney for three to four days and Leah came and brought him food while he was hidden.
Afterward, Mr. Weberman worked with his father-in-law, delivering food. He stole food and supplies, when he could, but never got caught. Now there were only about eight hundred people left in the Ghetto, all living in one factory. The toilets were in the fields. The Poles were taking all the Jews clothing, furniture and art and giving it to the Germans.
Two weeks before the Ghetto liberations, people said “be prepared because the Russians are coming and you’re going to Germany.” Ten huge graves were dug, big enough for one hundred people each. So, all eight hundred people in the Ghetto ran away and when the Germans came, they found empty houses. Only twenty people who couldn’t walk were left behind including Chana and Moishe Flamm, Mr. Weberman’s in-laws. When the Russians came, they were treated well.
Mr. Weberman and the others found food in the German warehouses. The Russians wanted the young boys to join them. He was nineteen when the Ghetto was liberated in January, 1945.
The war ended five months later; Mr. Weberman and Leah got married and was pregnant. Because the Poles were killing the survivors, they ran away. During the war, his sister was taken with 2,500 other children. His brother survived Auschwitz and went back to Germany. Mr. Weberman and Leah went with him and their baby was born four days after arriving.
His family stayed in Poland. Mr. Weberman and his family stayed in Frankfurt for two years, living in a huge house with a piano that had been an SS house during the war. They named their baby Mark, after his father Mendl. His in-laws were on the Exodus, returned to Germany and eventually settled in Israel in 1947.
Mr. Weberman has three children: son Mark lives in Chicago and has two daughters. Son Steve is married to Elaine Gans and has three children and daughter is Anna Thibert. His wife Leah died in 2000 and he is remarried to Sema.
Mr. Weberman is president of Shaarit Haplaytah Organization and helped to organize and build the Holocaust Memorial Center. He talks about the Holocaust often and said “my heart starts to cry when I begin talking.”
Date: June 1, 2011
Interviewer: Donna R. Sklar
Length: 1 hour and 46 minutes