Julian Gringras’s sisters Mania, Bala and Ziuka

Julian Gringras’s sisters Mania, Bala and Ziuka

This is a photo taken in my father’s photografic studio, ‘Moderne,’ in 1930. These are my younger sisters, from left: Mania, Bala and Ziuka.

Ziuka was properly Edzia, in Yiddish Estera, she was my younger sister. During the war she was in Fergana, Soviet Union.

After the war she lived in Israel until she died, at 85, 3 or 4 years ago. She was the only one of the four sisters to survive, because the others died at the hands of the Germans.

Ziuka's husband is Chaskiel Majtek, who lives in Israel, in Holon; he calls me up sometimes.

Next was Bala, or Bela. I think we used to call her Bala, but how it was written I don't know. I remember Bala well. I was very fond of her, a very lively, intelligent girl, active, very handsome, in my view.

Nice eyes, and she had dimples on her face. Mania didn't, nor did Ziuka. Mania was the last in the line, the 9th child. But by the time she was growing up I was in Warsaw, I hardly met them, except in the vacations, and then very rarely.

Whether Bala and Mania had their admirers, that I don't know. The girls worked in the photography studio; I think they spent some time learning retouching too, and then they worked in Orion.

I don't think they had any schooling. They could read and write, and were good with figures, of course, and spoke proper Polish, but what school they went to I don't know.

Both the girls went to the Birkenau camp. Mania died at the age of 18 or 20. Nobody knew anything about them. They were liquidated by the Germans very quickly.

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