Paula Kornblum Popowski papers
Negatives, slides, digital images, and other papers of Paula Kornblum Popowski, a Polish-born Jew who survived the Holocaust by passing as a Christian. Images include pre- and post-war photographs of Popowski and her family and friends, including her mother, sister, and grandparents. Other images show locations where Popowski lived, including Kałuszyn and Częstochowa, Poland, and Landshut, Germany, and her false Polish identification papers and health insurance papers. Other materials include postcards and letters sent to Popowski, mostly after the war.
- circa 1893-2009
- Popowski, Paula Kornblum, 1923- (Person)
Language of Material
Materials in English, Polish, Yiddish, German
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Paula Kornblum was born on January 29, 1923, in Kałuszyn, Poland. She attended a Hebrew kindergarten followed by seven years of public school, customary for the time. On September 11, 1939, ten days after the German invasion of Poland, the Germans occupied Kałuszyn. By 1940, the flour mill owned by her grandfather was confiscated by the Germans, and a Jewish ghetto was established. In 1942, as the Germans prepared to deport 3,000 ghetto inmates to Treblinka, Kornblum's family made plans to escape. Her parents sewed buttons made from fabric-covered gold coins onto her dress, and she and her sister Hannah voluntarily went to a German labor camp to avoid deportation. Her remaining family members were deported to Treblinka and killed within days.
In November 1942, Kornblum and her sister slipped away from the labor camp and traveled to Warsaw. They survived by using money from the gold buttons to acquire fake identities and hiding places. While in hiding, they moved from Warsaw to Częstochowa, where they were able to get jobs in a glass factory and find shelter in a convent. They pretended to be Catholic until the end of the war.
After the Russians liberated Częstochowa in January 1945, Kornblum and her sister returned to Kałuszyn, where they discovered that their family's home had been destroyed. The family's flour mill, which had already been taken over by the Germans, had been nationalized by the Russians. Kornblum and her sister left Kałuszyn and arranged to be smuggled into the American zone of Berlin, Germany. From there, they traveled to a displaced persons camp in Landshut, a city outside of Munich. While there, Kornblum met Henry Popowski, a fellow native of Kałuszyn. They married in 1947 and immigrated to the United States in 1949 with their young son, Mark. After arriving in New York, they traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, with the help of Joseph and Rachel Zucker, whose parents had known Kornblum's family in Poland.
0.1 linear feet (4 folders)
Negatives, slides, digital images, and other papers of Paula Kornblum Popowski, a Polish-born Jew who survived the Holocaust by passing as a Christian. Materials include pre- and post-war photographs of Popowski and her family and friends, photographs of locations where Popowski lived in Poland and Germany, and her false Polish identification papers. Other materials include postcards and letters sent to Popowski, mostly after the war.
Materials are described at the folder level.
Processed by Rebecca McClure, July 2011.
- Inventory of the Paula Kornblum Popowski Papers, circa 1893-2009
- 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.