Skip to main content

Samuel Greene papers

Identifier: Mss 1065-013

Collection Overview

Photographs, a memoir, and other papers of Samuel Greene, a native of Sławatycze, Poland. Greene survived imprisonment in two Russian labor camps during World War II and, in 1948, immigrated to Charleston, South Carolina. Materials include photographs of Greene during and after the war, his wife Regina Kawer pre- and post-war, and other Greene family members who settled in Israel after the war. Other materials include items from a 2007 luncheon honoring Greene at the College of Charleston, a memoir of Greene's that was published in Oh! Sławatycze, My Home..., and a copy of Regina Kawer's family tree.


  • Creation: 1927-2007


Language of Material

Materials in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Samuel Greene (1914-2013) was born Szmuel Grynblat in Sławatycze, Poland. In the 1930s, Greene served apprenticeships as a furrier. After being imprisoned and tortured for his progressive political beliefs, Greene traveled to Warsaw looking for work. While in Warsaw, Greene met Regina Kawer. They married two and a half months before Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. When the Polish government called for men to move east in order to regroup to fight the advancing German army, Greene traveled to Bialystok, which soon fell under the control of the Soviet Union. Regina Greene, whose blonde hair and blue eyes allowed her to escape Nazi scrutiny, was able to travel through Nazi-held territory to join him.

The Greenes were eventually rounded up by the Soviets and transported in cattle cars thousands of miles to Siberia. There they were imprisoned in a labor camp and worked as slaves, felling and shipping trees, and later surreptitiously boarded a train to another camp in the Ural Mountains, where Samuel Greene was forced to work in the mines. Greene was able to bribe a Soviet official with a cigarette lighter to secure his and Regina's passage to Samarqand, Uzbekistan. Living conditions there were better, but once again Greene was imprisoned, this time for black marketeering, only to be released with Regina's help.

At the end of the war, the Greenes returned to Poland. Most of their family members were gone, but Regina managed to reunite with her sister Edith, who had changed her name to Maria when she acquired false papers as an Aryan. In 1947, after a short stay in a displaced persons camp in Vienna, the Greenes moved into private housing, where their first son, Leonard, was born. In 1948, Regina's aunt and uncle, Edith and Louis Toporek, sponsored the couple's immigration to Charleston, South Carolina.


0.1 linear feet (3 folders)


Photographs, a memoir, and other papers of Samuel Greene, a native of Sławatycze, Poland. Materials include photographs of Greene and his wife, Regina Kawer Greene, before, during, and after World War II.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2000 by Samuel Greene.

Processing Information

Processed by Rebecca McClure, June 2011.

Inventory of the Samuel Greene Papers, 1927-2007
Processed by: Rebecca McClure; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rebecca McClure
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the processing of this collection and encoding of the finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)