Eliezer, known as Lolek, was the son of son of Marian (Melech) and Gitele (Guccia) Reiss. When the Germans occupied Lodz in September 1939, Lolek was an eleven year-old schoolboy.
Fearing for their lives under increasing German brutality and random shootings, the Riess family fled to Warsaw. All of Warsaw's Jewish population (over 400,000) was forced to live in a sealed-off, overcrowded ghetto, where food, medicine, housing and sanitation were inadequate. Children risked their lives in order to smuggle food into the ghetto for their families. Thousands of people died in the streets from starvation, disease and exposure. The Nazis raided the ghetto randomly, and performed acts of horrible brutality on its residents.
In the midst of all the horror, the Jews of Warsaw were able to maintain a semblance of a cultural life. Concerts, plays, and poetry readings were common.
In July 1942, the Nazis began deporting Warsaw's Jews to the Treblinka death camp. Daily mass deportations became common. During the next seven weeks a total of 265,000 Jews were deported to Treblinka. Almost all were murdered upon arrival. The deportations were temporarily halted in September. In April 1943, the Nazis decided to deport the 65,000 remaining Jews to Treblinka.
They met fierce resistance. Horribly outnumbered and poorly armed, 1,200 Jewish fighters held out for nearly a month. Their main weapons were grenades and other incendiary devices. The Germans set fires to force people out of their hiding places and combed the ghetto searching for survivors.
On May 16, 1943, the Nazis announced that the uprising had been crushed. Lolek, his mother, and sister Halinka were killed during the revolt. Lolek was fifteen years old.