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April 16, 1993 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-04-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Ina Silbergleit








A number of organiza-
tions, both in Detroit and
nationwide, are holding
observances to mark the
50th anniversary of the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
These include:
* Shaarit Haplaytah of
Metropolitan Detroit and
the Holocaust Memorial
Center, together with the
Greater Detroit Interfaith
Round Table of Chris-
tians, Jews and Muslims,
the Ecumenical Division
of the Archdiocese of
Detroit and the Jewish
Community Center, will
hold a candle-lighting cer-
emony 1 p.m. April 18 at
the Maple-Drake JCC.
The guest speaker will be
Yehuda Nir, author of
Lost Childhood.
* Temple Beth El in
Flint will host Sidney .
Bolkosky 7 p.m. April 18.
He will speak on "The
Burden of Memory: The
Life and Death of Warsaw
Jewry." The film The
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
also will be shown.
* The Warsaw Ghetto
Resistance Organization
will hold a major gather-
ing April 18 in New
York's Madison Square
Garden. Participants will
include Vice President Al
Gore, singer Theodore
Bikel, and Vladka Meed,
a courier in the Warsaw
underground during the
Nazi occupation. The
event will feature a 120-

voice choir performing
songs from the ghetto, a
candle-lighting ceremo-
ny and the recitation of
the Kaddish.

more, but Ina and
Richard continued to
live, in secret, at the fac-
tory. Whenever German
guards approached, "we
had to hide," Mrs.
Silbergleit recalls. "We
had a signal, and when
they came, we would go
under a pile of uni-
Ina's only entertain-
ment was books, and she
became a voracious read-
er. She went through
Quo Vadis several times,
loved the poetry and
children's stories of
Julian Tuwim, and was
fascinated by a book
about the Mongolian
attack on Poland. It was
a tale of terror and vio-
She never left the
house, but Ina "had a
great sense of what was
going on in the ghetto
from what adults around
me said." She saw the
"selections" and the
hunger. She knew she
had to keep quiet so her
presence would remain
secret. "I knew I couldn't
scream or yell or wear
Sometimes Mrs. Sil-
bergleit's memories of
the ghetto are triggered
by coincidences today.
After settling in the'
United States, she found
herself desperate to read
anything about the war.
Among the books she

picked up was Mila 18.
One scene in the book,
the story of the Warsaw
Ghetto Uprising,
describes ghetto resi-
dents getting new boots
after leather was smug-
gled inside.
"I remembered I got
measured for new boots
once," she says.
"Contraband leather had
come in..."
Ina was 6 years old
when her family left the
ghetto. It happened

Ina's only
was books, and
she became a
voracious reader.

under extraordinary cir-
Stanislaw Rajchman had
befriended a business
associate who later
became an SS officer.
Though he extracted a
high price — he took
many of the family's
goods — the man became
their protector. He made
sure the Rajchmans had
work in the ghetto and
sometimes brought them
sugar and other treats.
In 1943, the officer
came to the Rajchmans
with a warning: in two

weeks the ghetto 'would
be liquidated. He offered
to help them out, at
great risk to his own life.
The officer sent a
chauffeur in his own car,
seating Stanislaw and
Rena beside him and
hiding the children
under blankets in the
back seat. He zoomed out
of the ghetto and into
the city, where the fami-
ly had made arrange-
ments to stay with gen-
In 1944, Stanislaw and
Richard became separat-
ed from Rena and Ina.
Rena later learned of
their fate, but didn't tell
her daughter until long
after the war. Hoping
against hope that her
brother and father were
still alive, Ina spent
years "waiting for some-
one to knock on the
Ina and her mother
managed to survive by
hiding with various gen-
tile families. Their last
stay, where they resided
for one year, was with an
elderly woman who
taught piano and insist-
ed Ina learn the cate-
"We learned it was the
end of the war just the
way it is in the movies,"
Mrs. Silbergleit says.
"The Russian tanks
came, the soldiers were
throwing candy to all the

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