Message to Ada Holtzman
Date: 12 Dec 1998
From: Simon Srebrny
Subject: Chelmno and Srebrny / Srebrnik

Dear Ms Holzman,

Many thanks for your note.

Yes, my father's family lived in Lodz before and during the war. My grandparents were killed in or from the Lodz ghetto. My uncle Meszulem was shot on the street there. My two aunts were in the ghetto and got away. One survived the camps, the other was shot in Krakow on March 14, 1943. My father had left Lodz in 1930 to study abroad and then left Italy for Palestine in 1938.

I know that a Szymon Srebrny or Srebrnik and Mordechai Podchlebnik were the only two people to survive Chelmno.

According to Nachman Blumental, in Dokumenty i Materialy, Tom I, Obozy (Lodz: Wydawnictwa Centralnej Zydowskiej Komisji Historycznej w Polsce, ה, 1946) Szymon's family name is Srebrny.

The same holds for Lucjan Dobroszycki, ed.: Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto 1941-1944 (New Haven and London: Yale U.P., 1984) But in the film SHOAH by Claude Lanzmann, Szymon is called Srebrnik.

When I saw the film, I was shattered ... my namesake. I wrote to Lanzmann to ask him to pass on a letter to Szymon S. but Lanzmann never answered.

Do you know what his name really is and if he is alive (he lives or lived in Tel Aviv).

I think he is from Pabianice, and we did have Srebrny relatives there before the war. I have no idea what became of them.

Do you have a comprehensive list of people who were killed in Chelmno? Many other relatives from Poland and Germany are said to have perished there.. but I do not have the details or confirmation.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kol Tov,

Simon Srebrny 


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