Holocaust survivors turn own home into personal museum

Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:59am EST
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By Ronen Zvulun

ARIEL, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli Holocaust survivors from Poland have turned their home in a Jewish settlement into a museum where schoolchildren can learn about the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews during World War Two.

Irena Wodzislawski, 77, says her late husband, Yaacov, launched the project in 2003, seeing it as a form of revenge for the killing of most of the Jewish community, including much of his family, in his native town of Czestochowa.

Wodzislawski guides groups of Israeli youths and soldiers past a private collection of 1,000 Holocaust-era memorabilia encased in glass that includes postcards written by concentration camp inmates and the striped uniforms they wore.

Israel's main Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, regularly holds guided tours for youngsters but Wodzislawski said that as a survivor, she can offer visitors to her museum a unique personal perspective.

Wodzislawski survived the Holocaust in her native Przemysl by spending much of the war as a very young girl in hiding with a Christian family after her mother disappeared from the town's Jewish ghetto one day never to return.

She emigrated to British Mandatory Palestine a few years before the establishment of Israel in 1948 and now lives in Ariel, a large settlement in the occupied West Bank.

A retired chemical engineer who once worked in Israel's Defense Ministry, Wodzislawski said she and her husband bought much of the collection on trips through eastern Europe in a quest to help preserve remnants of destroyed Jewish communities.

"SWOLLEN FROM HUNGER"   Continued...

Jewish Holocaust survivor Irena Wodzislawski points to pictures displayed at a museum commemorating the six million victims of the Nazi genocide, inside her home in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun