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Chana Konopinski

Chana Konopinski discusses how she escaped from the Gleiwitz labour camp.

Chana Konopinski (neé Meyer) was born on July 5, 1923 in Czestochowa. Her father Itzhak was a shoemaker and her mother Nacha was a dressmaker. Chana had three younger sisters, Rivka (born 1925), Chaya (born 1927), and Raizela (born 1929) all of whom were killed in the Holocaust.

Chana and her family fled Czestochowa before the German occupation. In 1937 there was a large pogrom and the family fled their home and travelled to Sosnowiec, Poland.

With the German occupation they endured many hardships and early in 1943 they were interned in the Sosnowiec ghetto. Chana was deported to the Gleiwtiz labour camp in March 1943, but managed to escape and returned to Sosnoweic. It was there that her former Polish neighbors recognized her and reported her to the Nazi police.

Upon liberation, Chana lived at a Displaced Persons camp in Nuremberg, Germany. From there she moved to Sweden, then Israel and in October 1953 she immigrated to Canada, settling in Toronto. Her full testimony is part of the Canadian Collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. It is preserved in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive and accessible through the Ekstein Library.

Chana Konopinski

I was shaking, I was scared. I was really scared.