Hanna, the daughter of Maier-David and Frymet-Leah (Wruble) Blawat, was an infant when the Germans occupied Gabin, Poland. Not far from Warsaw, Gabin was surrounded by lush and beautiful forests. The wealthy and middle-class Jews of Warsaw would vacation in Gabin during the summer. They would stay in the town's numerous resort hotels.
Soon after Hanna's birth, Mr. Blawat, who was a tailor, left Poland for France. He hoped to make a better life there for his family. Mr. Blawat got a job on a friend's farm. He was working on papers that would enable him to bring his wife and child to France. Just before the papers were to be granted, however, Germany invaded Poland, trapping Hanna and her mother.
When the Nazis entered Gabin, they immediately set fire to its synagogue and nearby Jewish houses. Jewish adults were forced to report for compulsory labor. Jewish homes were taken over by Poles of German descent. Hanna and her family were forced to move into the attic of their once comfortable home.
Early in 1940, two-year-old Hanna, along with the other Jews of Gabin, were forced to leave their homes and live in a closed-off ghetto. There was little food in the ghetto, and it was horribly overcrowded.
Hanna and her mother would sometimes sneak out to beg food from their former neighbors. Jews were still required to report for compulsory labor, and the Germans began sending transports of Jews to labor camps. At first, they reported for transport, hoping that this would help their families left behind in the ghetto. But they began hiding when they learned of the horrendous conditions in the camps. The Germans began raiding Jewish homes, picking up young Jews at random. Despite the transports, the Jewish population of Gabin grew, as Jews from surrounding areas were forced into the ghetto.
On May 12, 1942, all the Jews of Gabin, including four year-old Hanna, were sent to the Chelmno death camp. Hanna, her mother, and her grandparents were murdered upon arrival.
Hanna was four years old when she was murdered. Her father spent the war years fighting the Nazis as a member of the French resistance. After the war, he desperately searched for traces of little Hanna and her mother, but found nothing.