Hanna Blawat

Born 1938 - Gabin(Gombin), Poland

Hanna Blawat was the daughter of Maier-David and Frymet-Leah (nee Wruble) Blawat. She was an infant when the Germans occupied their home town of Gabin, Poland. Located near Warsaw, Gabin was surrounded by lush and beautiful forests. The wealthy and middle-class Jews of Warsaw vacationed in Gabin during the summer, staying in the town's numerous resort hotels.

Soon after Hanna's birth in 1938, Mr. Blawat, 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 while he tried to obtain the papers that would enable his wife and child to come to France. Just before the papers were granted, however, Germany invaded Poland, trapping Hanna and her mother.

When the Nazis entered Gabin, they immediately set fire to the synagogue and nearby Jewish houses. Jewish adults were forced to report for compulsory labor, and Poles of German descent took over their homes. Hanna and her family were forced to move into the attic of their once-comfortable home.

Early in 1940, two-year-old Hanna and the other Jews of Gabin were forced to leave their homes and live in a closed-off ghetto. There was little food in the overcrowded ghetto. Hanna and her mother would sometimes sneak out to beg for 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, Jews complied with the transport orders, hoping that this would help their families left behind in the ghetto. Jews began hiding, however, when they learned of the horrendous conditions in the camps. The Germans began raiding Jewish homes and 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 Chelmno Concentration Camp. Hanna, her mother, and her grandparents were murdered upon arrival.

Hanna’s 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.

Hanna was one of 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Germans and their collaborators during the Holocaust.

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