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"People say to me, ‘Why not just forget it and live a normal life?’ There is no normal life after the Holocaust.”
Dora Eiger Zaidenweber was born on January 24, 1924 in Radom, Poland. Her father was a community leader and a member of the executive committee of Poland’s Zionist Labor Party. Dora remembers Radom as a vibrant Jewish community where she participated in athletics and various youth groups. She was 15 when the Germans took Poland and remembers the event as being “like something you would see in a movie, but never think would happen to you.”
In 1941 Dora and her family were forced into the ghetto. Her father was arrested in 1942. She met Jules Zaidenweber in the ghetto and married him on July 8, 1943. She remembers the wedding being performed by the head of the Jewish labor camp where they were imprisoned, and that Jules saved their marriage certificate by hiding it in his shoe.
Dora was transported to Auschwitz in July of 1944 where she remained until January of 1945, when she and other inmates were evacuated on a forced march to Bergen-Belsen. She was liberated on April 15, 1945 at Bergen-Belsen and was reunited with Jules, her father and brother several months afterward.
The Zaidenwebers settled in Minnesota in 1950. Dora Zaidenweber has always believed in speaking about her experiences and has educated many young people, teachers and individuals about the Holocaust. If there is a lesson in the Holocaust, she believes it is that if you do nothing and ignore what is happening when others are being persecuted, you are no different than those who perpetrate the crimes. Jules Zaidenweber passed away in January 2005.
In April of 2011 Dora returned to her home town of Radom, Poland to speak about her experiences during the Holocaust. Below are links to an article and a video from a Polish Cultural magazine. Currently the video is only available in Polish.
Photos: Top: Dora and Jules Zaidenweber in the ghetto 1941, bottom right: Dora and Jules Zaidenweber, ghetto. Note: Dora is wearing an armband with a Star of David required of all Jews in the ghetto.
Photos: Courtesy Dora Zaidenweber