Mayer Bitterman

1920 - 1989

A Story of Survival: All We Had Was Hope

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Mayer, his parents, and brother lived in Krakow, Poland.

From the Krakow ghetto to Oskar Schindler’s factory in Plaszow to Aushwitz and then transported again, Mayer worked at the Mauthausen quarry on the “Stairs of Death.”

After World War II, Mayer moved to a displaced persons camp and witnessed the testimony and sentencing of 60 defendants accused of war crimes associated with Mauthausen.  Mayer emigrated to Cleveland in 1949 to start a new life.  He married and had two sons. Throughout his life, Mayer never lost hope for a better life and a better world.  (19 min)

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Helen (Chaya) Dub, nee Grossman

1920 – 2009

The Survival and Triumph of the Jewish Spirit

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In 1941, Hungary forcibly deported Helen, her parents and 8 siblings to Poland. Under German occupation Helen was forced into labor, endured endless suffering and witnessed countless murders.  In August of 1943, the Germans liquidated the ghetto and killed every remaining Jew they could find.  Helen fled to the woods with her sister. She spent a year hiding in an underground bunker in the woods, which ultimately caved in, killing most of its inhabitants, including Helen’s sister.  When Russian troops liberated the area a few months later, Helen was the only survivor of her family.

After World War II, Helen started a tailoring business, married, and had three children.  In 1949, they fled to Montreal, Canada, where they lived until 1953, and then emigrated to Cleveland.  (18 min)

Ben Nebel

1924 - 1998

A Holocaust Story of Courage, Compassion, and Resilience

Ben, his parents and 4 siblings were a normal Jewish family living in Lacko, Poland, a small town nestled in the Tetra mountains.

The Jews of the town were forced to move to Nowy Sacz where Ben’s parents were marched to a cemetery and shot to death. His siblings were transported to Treblinka and gassed to death. Ben was the only one of his extended family to survive the war.  

Ben spent the next five years being “relocated” — to Rzeszow then Tarnow labor camps; transported to Plaszow then Birkenau/Auschwitz death camps; and forced on a Death March to Mauthausen/Ebensee killing center.

Ben witnessed and survived untold brutality at the hands of the Nazis, yet never lost his humanity. A single promise to a friend gave him the will to live to tell his story. He was liberated by US troops. So grateful was he, that after the war Ben volunteered to work for his liberators.

Ben emigrated to the United States in 1946, moved to Cleveland, married and started a new life and a new family.  Throughout his life he often wondered why the world looked the other way. (20 min)

Jack Wieder

1927 - 2002

A Story of Strength, Courage, and Survival

Jack, his parents, and eleven siblings lived in the Subcarpathian region of Czechoslovakia among their neighbors, Jews and non-Jews alike. The Nazis forced the Jews to relinquish their privileges and freedoms, their jobs and education, their homes and all of their belongings. From ghetto to ghetto, labor camp to labor camp, and death camp to death camp, Jack persevered, endured and survived the de-humanizing tactics and extermination efforts of the Nazis.

After World War II, Jack reunited with two surviving sisters and a brother, married, and started a new family in Forhenwald, a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. They emigrated to the United States in 1953. (22 min)