Join us at 1 P.M. on select Sundays to hear testimony from a Holocaust survivor. Free with admission.


Celia Kener was born in 1935 in Lvov, Poland. When the Germans invaded in 1941, life totally changed. Her father was drafted into the Russian army while the rest of her family moved into the ghetto. Celia’s mother was selected for a labor camp and was periodically brought in to visit the family on weekends. Her mother found a childless Roman Catholic couple and promised her daughter to them because she didn’t think that she would survive. Celia was eventually reunited with her mother. The family was liberated by the Russians. Her father escaped the Russian army to an Uzbekistan displaced persons camp under an assumed name and survived. Celia and her parents came to the United State in 1949.


Ruth Pagirsky was born in 1926 in Berlin, Germany. She and her family were deported in 1936 to Poland. She lived in Katowice until September 1939. Ruth was 13 years old when the war started. After losing many family members Ruth spent time hiding in the forest and ended up in a labor camp. She later obtained false identification papers that stated she was a Polish Catholic. This new identity allowed her to work on a farm in Germany for three years until she was liberated by US soldiers in 1945. Ruth came to the United States in June 1946.


Natalie Gonenn was born in Chelm, Poland. In 1939, she went into hiding in an underground bunker for 8 months. She was smuggled across the border from River Bouk to Russia. In Russia, she lived in train stations and cattle wagons. She eventually made her way to Poland and lived in an orphanage. After the war, Natalie lived in a displaced persons camp for a few months until she made her way to Palestine and arrived in Israel at the age of 12. Natalie later served in the Israeli army for two years. She arrived in the United States in 1960.


Ray Kaner was born in Lodz, Poland. She endured Ghetto Lodz, and was transported to Auschwitz in August 1944 during the liquidation of the ghetto. She was later transported to the labor camp Hambieren, Germany where she was liberated by the British on April 15, 1945. She and her husband arrived in New York City in 1946. She has been closely involved with the Center for Holocaust Studies, has been an oral history interviewer, and has spoken extensively to schools and community groups.



TOP: Speaker Sally Frishberg in discussion with a student visitor. Photo by Melanie Einzig.

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