Jack Melcer

Jack Melcer

I was born in 1930 in Warsaw. I had a sister and 3 brothers. I lived in the ghetto until mid 1941. I managed to escape together with my mother to Kozienice. I had to go to farms and beg for food. A Volksdeutche farmer’s wife offered me a job which I accepted on condition that my mother will also get some food.

When the Germans liquidated the Kozienice ghetto, I missed the train. I had to walk to Deblin ghetto where I found cousins to stay with. A few weeks later, the Deblin ghetto was liquidated and we were sent to a working camp just outside Deblin where we worked until the Russian offensive.

We were then moved to Czestochowa. I was lucky to be in the second transport as the children in the first group were gassed. When we heard what had happened, we managed to convince the Germans that we were able to work as adults. We manufactured bullets in 12 hour shifts.

Again the Russian army approached, half the camp was moved and ended up in Auschwitz. Luck was on my side, I was in the second group and we were liberated by the Russians at the end of 1944.

In 1945 I came to Terezin and joined a group going to Windermere where we slowly returned to normal life. I went to a school in London with the help of Sir Leonard Montefiore. I trained as a dental mechanic but then moved on to plastic profiles manufacturing.

In 1965 I married Miriam. We have 2 sons: Jerome, an actuary, is married and has five sons and one daughter. Leonard, an IT Consultant, is married with 3 daughters and lives in Melbourne Australia. I am retired now and enjoy being with my family.

Ethan Rife, a 13 year old from Virginia, chose to remember my little brother Simcha Tova at his Bar Mitzvah and keep his memory alive. We were included in the family celebrations. Ethan became A Guardian of Jewish Memory through the organisation Remember Us.

I chose to list the members of my family who perished in the Shoah as a memorial to them. Below is a photo of my family now, who will PG continue to grow and show that the Nazis did not achieve their aim.

Peretz Lev

Peretz Lev

Peretz Lev (Levkovich) was born on September 9th 1927 in a small village called Pavienze in Poland. At the age of 6 he lost his father and the family moved to Lodz. He was 12 years old when his family was forced to move to the Lodz ghetto. In 1944 he was transported to Auschwitz Birkenau with his mother and sister. As the war intensified he was moved to Hankel concentration camp in Germany and was finally liberated by the Russian troops during the last death march. After trying to return to his homeland, where Peretz met his older brother Izack, he went to Theresienstadt where he was one of the children taken under the British auspices to England and became one of “The Boys”. In 1949 Peretz was reunited with his mother, his sister and his older brother, who had miraculously survived the holocaust, and the family moved together to the new state of Israel.

In 1951, Peretz joined the Israeli Air force where he served until 1976. After his military service he joined the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS) until his retirement in 1991. From 1991 till today, Peretz still continues with his volunteering activities with the IDF and school children as a spokesperson on the atrocities which the Nazis carried out against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. He always says it is so important “Never to forget.” This square represents Peretz, his love for Israel, the Israeli Air force, the IDF, his family and his victory over the Nazis by his legacy of four children, ten grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. Peretz lives today in Beer Sheva, Israel with his wife, Yocheved.

Assaf Lev

Steve Mermelstein

Steve Mermelstein

Our father, Steven “Simi” Mermelstein z”l was born on December 9, 1929 in Zdenyov, Czechoslovakia. The situation in his area began to deteriorate in 1943 and his older sisters convinced their father to let them care for him in Budapest where they worked as nurses in the Jewish Red Cross hospital. He was briefly conscripted into a labor camp but was rescued by his sisters and spent the remaining time in hiding in hospital, pretending to have a kidney disease.

After liberation in Budapest on January 10, 1945, Steve discovered his father Itzchak Eizig, sister Hudje and 3 year old niece Reizl were all murdered in Auschwitz. As a teenager, all alone, he was lucky to be included in the group of children brought to England by the Central British Fund in March, 1946. During the interviews, which were in English, a language he did not yet speak, the interviewer told him “All right”. He had no idea what that meant, but he often said that it was the happiest day of his life.

After almost five years in England, Steve emigrated to the U.S. and joined two of his brothers, Bennet and Kalvin, in New York. He went to Fashion Institute of Design, became a pattern maker and moved to Buffalo, New York where he met and married Ella Korman. Steve joined his brothers in 1961 in Los Angeles where they began manufacturing women’s clothing. They expanded their business into real estate development and property management and the business continues today. Steve and Ella had four daughters: Sandy, Elaine, Suzanne and Elisa. Sadly, in May 1975, Steve lost his beloved wife to cancer when she was only 34 years old and was left to raise his daughters as a single father.

The square represents Steve’s life journey and is centred on a map of the world. He was born in Zdenyov – represented by a picture of him with two of his sisters and his niece. He was liberated in Budapest and then moved to London. His move to the United States on the Queen Elizabeth II is represented by the picture of him as a young man next to the image of the boat. The scissors represent his training in London to be a pattern maker. After moving to the U.S., he moved to Buffalo where he met and married Ella Korman. The two of them are shown together. The image of the airplane represents his love of travel. The final two pictures are with his four daughters and his three grandchildren, Aaron, Ella and Noa – his great pride and joy!

Sandy Mermelstein

Rachel Levy

tbmq-048My mother was born on 30th April 1930 in a tiny village called Bhutz in the Carpathian Mountains. The Nazi’s first came to round up the 100 Jews in the village in 1942 but they evaded capture by hiding in the mountains aided by the local Romanians. In 1945 the Nazi’s returned and this time hiding was futile, she was taken to a ghetto with her mother, older brother and 3 younger siblings. Soon after they were transported to Auschwitz where her mother and the younger children were selected and immediately sent to the gas chamber. My mother was separated from her brother Chaskiel who did survive.

After surviving the Death March from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen she was finally liberated by British soldiers in 1945 aged just 15 years old.

Miraculously her brother found her and together they were brought as part of ‘The Boys’ to Ireland and then England in 1945. My mother trained as a dressmaker, married Phin Levy and had two children. Today at the age of 84 she still teaches dressmaking.

Shelly Irvine

In the summer of 2013, I had the unique and powerful opportunity to travel alongside my Grandmother into the countryside of Ukraine and rediscover the village she called home as a child. To identify with my personal history through the exploration of physical place was one of the most surreal experiences. As a member of the 3rd generation I, alongside my younger brother, had the rare opportunity to not only hear my Grandmother’s story of survival but to stand beside her as she rediscovered the land on which she was raised.
There are few words that can describe the impact that trip made on me, it went beyond the retelling of a story of survival and became the reclamation of a story of childhood happiness. Survivors are defined by the life changing experience that was the Holocaust, but I hope we as the 3rd generation can carry the stories of happiness and innocence of childhood alongside the stories of sadness, resilience and endurance. This quilt square represents what I pictured in my own mind as my Grandmother described her memories of Behutz to me. A family owned mill alongside a river, nestled in a green valley – a beloved home to my Grandmother.

Hannah Levy House

Sala Hochszpiegel & Benny Newton

Sala Hochszpiegel & Benny Newton

My parents were born in Poland in 1929, my mother Sala in Lodz and my father Benny in Skarzysko. Their war years were spent in various ghettos and camps, both finally ending up in Theresienstadt from where they were liberated on 6th May 1945. They were brought to Windermere where their relationship blossomed and they eventually married on 6th May 1951, settling in Cricklewood, in north west London.They were affectionately known as Shaindl and Shaiah by their friends. The essence of their survival is their family, having been blessed with 3 daughters, 9 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Rosalind Landau

Moshe Nurtman

Moshe Nurtman

The Nurtman Family square features a rainbow which represents the life and hope that was born from so much hate. The names above the rainbow are those of Moshe’s parents, brothers and sisters who perished in the Holocaust and: Israel (44 years), Sarah (38 years), Benjamin (18 years), Esther Brandel (16 years), Samuel (11 years) and Rose (8 years). Their names shall never be forgotten. The 6 candles commemorate the 6 million who died.

The rest of the square represents Moshe’s pride and joy: the names of his three sons – Howard, Saul and Mickey and the handprints of his grandchildren – Alex, Lexie, Joelle and Samuel.

Moshe came to London in 1945 and was in the textile industry. He loves Turkish Baths and playing cards. One of Moshe’s memories is of his mother buying doughnuts for the family whenever there was a family occasion. These doughnuts are represented on our tree of life.

Victoria Jossel

Chaim Lewkowicz

Chaim Lewkowicz

Born on 21st February 1926, the youngest of eleven children, to Yaakow and Chava, Charlie (then known as Chaim) grew up in Pietrkow Trybunalski, Poland. After surviving several concentration camps, he came to England as one of The Boys. He married Beca and had two children, Eve and Jack, and six grandchildren: Jonathan, Robert, Ilana, Sharon, Steven and Samantha.

Charlie managed a factory in the east end of London, manufacturing shoulder pads and was a member of Palmers Green & Southgate shul for many years. He and Beca loved to entertain their ‘survivor’ friends and spent many evenings playing cards – the women played Kaluki while the men played Poker!

A real life hero, at his shiva, three friends came forward and told stories of how he had saved them during the war. One friend told of how Charlie had carried him home from a day’s labour at the Ammunitions Factory – they would have shot him had he been unable to walk. Another told how Charlie had given him his portion of food when typhoid broke out in Theresienstadt at the end of the war. Camp staff were too afraid to come near with food. Chaim had saved some bread and gave it to him. Always a kind and generous man!

Eve Pearl

Traute Lossau

tbmq-062Our mother, Traute Lossau, was born on the 19th January 1933. She was the second eldest of five children. Renata being the eldest, our mother, Max and twins, Inga and Yoachim. They were born in Konigsberg, East Prussia.
Their parents were sent to Auschwitz and never to be seen again. All five children were sent to Theresienstadt where they remained together for 3 years until the camp was liberated. From there they went to Prague and were then brought to England and sent to Windermere.

Our mother Traute (in the picture with the boys, front row in a cape) went on to study at the London School of Fashion and then to work for Norman Hartnell, the Queen’s dressmaker.Their square represents these five siblings and how they survived as a unit and their love of music, singing and dancing.

Evette Henderson

Bob Obuchowski

Bob Obuchowski


My dad, Bob Obuchowski, was born in Ozorkow, Poland in 1928. He survived the Holocaust, living through the horrors of the Lodz ghetto, concentration camps, which included Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Rhemsdorf and Theresienstadt. He was liberated in 1945 and arrived in Carlisle, Cumbria, with the first transport of children who were to make a new life in England. They stayed in a hostel in Windermere. In his words, he went “from hell to paradise”.The centrepiece of our square is two figures representing Bob and his beloved, petite wife, Marie, seated on a sofa. This is the type of furniture Bob specialised in making as a master upholsterer.
Bob was an effervescent character. He said his biggest achievement in life was his family, pictured above them. On the bookshelf is a Siddur. Bob never lost his faith in Judaism and loved going to Shul.
The playing cards represent the fun he had playing Kalooki and teaching the game to a variety of people.
Around the square are words describing important events, places and people that form part of his story. With his infectious smile, Bob left a lasting impression on everyone he met, the true mark of a wonderful and inspirational man.

Susan Bermange

‘ ‘

Moishe Malenicky

tbmq-115Moishe Malenicky was born in Piotrokow in Poland. His family were bakers and he lived with his mother Chana and father Elimelech, together with his younger brother and three little sisters.

He was just 15 years old when the Germans invaded his town and took the family away; he was the only one who survived.

Dad could never talk about his siblings and, although he passed away in 2001, it wasn’t until 2004, when the family visited Yad Vashem in Israel, that we discovered by chance, testimony to his brother and sisters that he had added in 1992 to the Central Database of Shoah victims.That was when we learned that their names were Nathan, Frumka, Surela and Miriam and we hope that dad will be pleased that we can now tell the fourth generation, his great grandchildren, all about his beautiful family.

His very proud daughters

Angela and Irene

‘ ‘