Mala Tribich (née Helfgott)


I was born on 24th September 1930 in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland, the middle child of three, with an older brother Ben and a younger sister Lusia. I enjoyed a normal happy life in a loving family until the German Army invaded Poland on 1st September 1939, when my world collapsed. During the next five and a half years I survived life in a ghetto, as a hidden child, as a slave labourer, and in November 1944 was deported to Ravensbruck concentration camp, and subsequently to Bergen Belsen. There I was very ill with typhus when liberated by the British army on 15th April 1945.

In July 1945 I was sent with a group of children to Sweden for rehabilitation. There I learned that Ben was the only other survivor of my family, and we were reunited in England in March 1947. Soon after arriving I enrolled at secretarial college, and within one year I had started work and was self-supporting. In 1950 I married Maurice Tribich, an architect; we had two children, and three grandchildren. When my children were in their teens I took a full time course at London University and gained a BSc (Hons) in Sociology.

My panel shows foliage and flowers on my roof garden, exactly as the title says, and is both a memorial to my parents and sister Lusia and also a celebration of the younger generations and the seasonal renewal of life. Sadly, Maurice died some years ago. My children’s photos are grouped as follows: left – my daughter Shannon and her son Declan; right – my son Jeffrey, Naomi, and their children Miriam and Samuel.

Bluma and Berek Wurzel Our

tbmq-164Our mother Bluma Wurzel Urbas was born on May 2, 1926 in Radomsko, Poland. Her father was a wealthy businessman in Radomsko and had many diamonds that he hid away carefully. He used the precious stones to pay various country people to hide his family in big dog houses on their farms. Eventually, her father purchased his wife’s and 3 children’s way into an ammunition factory work camp, where they remained until their liberation. After the war, Bluma and her younger brother Berek were brought to the Lake District in England with other refugee boys and girls. There, they were taught the skill of sewing from a tailor in Manchester.
Berek met his wife Carole Stahl and settled in Manchester, England, as an entrepreneur in the pocketbook business. Bluma joined her sister, Bronya, in a relocation camp in Munich, Germany, where she met her husband Bolak (Benjamin) Urbas, and gave birth to their first daughter, Gail. Soon after, they immigrated to the US and settled in Boston, Massachusetts where Bluma gave birth to their second daughter, Pamela. Today, Bluma has seven grandchildren thriving across the US in New York, California, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The picture we selected for the quilt was our mother’s favourite with uncle Berek and her long hair. Their love and admiration for each other was intensely mutual. She always talked about how her little brother cried when she cut her hair. We never knew her with long hair.

Michele, Gail, Pammy & Lorraine

Rose Turek


My mother, Rose Regina Turek was born in Poland and was taken at a young age to Theresienstadt. She was liberated after the war and went to England. There she met with other survivors who had experienced similar losses. What kept these children strong, after losing their entire family, was the bond of friendship – kindred spirits. Many of these survivors stayed in contact with my mother until the day she passed away in 2013.

My sister Deborah and I learned a great deal from our mother. She was the strongest, most fearless person we ever knew. She taught us the importance of family and that friendship is a true gift.

The day the Nazis took my mother from her family, my grandparents gave my mother diamonds and rubies. Perhaps these precious gems might help their daughter gain access to a family that would hide her from the Nazis and prevent her from going to a concentration camp.

These precious gems only lasted so long. Eventually, my mother was taken to the concentration camp, where she experienced a life that could have taken the light out of her spirit. Yet, a strong flame continued to burn inside, and her will to live kept her alive. Rose Regina Turek left Theresienstadt and went to England, wearing only the ragged clothes on her back and holding a few cherished photographs of her family who died in Auschwitz.

I believe the photographs my mother held in her hands when she came to England were more valuable that the rubies and diamonds she left home with as a child. If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the words on those photographs are about family and love. When my mother passed away in 2013, her family gathered around her bed and talked only of family and love.

Ann David Mendoza

Hanka Ziegler Smith


My name is Hanka Ziegler Smith and I feel very blessed to leave a legacy of my life represented in this tree. I am the sole survivor of my family from Poland, Lodz. I had three brothers and two sisters. Four of them perished in the Holocaust with my parents and all my relatives. My remaining brother died in April 2013 in Israel. I leave two lovely daughters, beautiful grandchildren and eight fabulous great grandchildren. I am surrounded by love.

Hanka Ziegler Smith

Harry Wajchandler and Howard Chandler


Harry (Herschel) Wajchendler (1926) and his younger brother Howard Chandler (Chaim Wajchendler, 1928) were born in Wierzbnik, Poland. They lived in a large house with their parents, Leibke and Pearl and elder sister Geetel (Gucha), and younger brother, Shmulek. Their family had a dry goods store and were active members of the Jewish community. They were both forced labourers in the Starachowice labour camp, they were then interned in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald and were finally liberated in Theresienstadt. Howard and Harry were the only survivors in the family. They are proudly two of ‘The Boys’ who went to London after the war. Howard emigrated to Canada as a war orphan in 1947 and Harry stayed in London. Harry passed away in 2005.

I did this cross stitch of both of them at a simcha because I thought it showed them in good times, and enjoying themselves. Pictures like this are to be treasured to celebrate the miracle of them surviving the Holocaust.

Hayley Blaber

The story continues | Second Generation


The Second Generation are the children and grand-children of The Boys. Our parents have deputed to us the responsibility of guarding their testimony, of bearing vicarious witness to their life stories and of remembering the lives that were destroyed. The Second Generation organisation was set up to keep these stories alive by way of community events, educational activities and fund raisingThrough our website, we hope to encourage the Second Generation to maintain contact with one other, to actively participate in remembering the past and in teaching its lessons, so that such terrible events can never be repeated. We celebrate the achievements of the survivors in building strong families and communities, and their triumph of hope over adversity.
The Second Generation group evolved with a number of initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s and a larger organisation has developed since 2000 with a broad range of activities and participation. We launched a web site as a communication point and to serve as the ‘45 Aid archives. Holocaust education initiatives have included talks by survivors and training Second and Third Generation to deliver the testimony of their parents and grandparents in schools. We have worked actively with the Holocaust Educational Trust and other bodies to promote this initiative.
Since 2010 the Second Generation group has taken the lead in the ‘45 Aid Society management committee with Second Generation members acting as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice Chair, Commemoration Officer, Events, Fund Raising, Education, Communication and other roles to continue the work of the ‘45 Aid Society.

Philip Burton
On behalf of the Second Generation

Mick Zwirek


Our father Abraham ‘Mick’ Zwirek was born on 18 December 1925 in Plock, Poland. He was in two ghettos and four concentration camps. At first he was in a ghetto in his hometown of Plock and then briefly at Laziyo village before being moved with his parents and sister to Suchedniów ghetto. In September 1942 he was taken as a slave labourer to Skarzysko railway line and then onto the concentration camp nearby at Skarzysko. In July 1944 he was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, then to Schlieben concentration camp and finally to Theresienstadt. He was liberated there by the Russians in May 1945.

He was brought to England in August 1945, arriving as one of ‘The Boys’ in a British bomber, flying from Prague. After hostels in Windermere and London, he started a new life and became a furrier in central London, with his own business in partnership with another one of The Boys.

The square represents his family: his beloved wife of more than 50 years Ida and his children Helen and David. The square was chosen as it signifies the continuation of life, emerging from the horrors of the Holocaust and the indomitable spirit and courage of our hero and a wonderful man – Dad.

David Zwirek

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Aron Zylberszac

Aron Zylberszac

Aron was born on 10th August 1927, the youngest child to Faiga and Gavriel, who was a shochet and had a butcher’s shop which operated out of their two room apartment in the town of Lodz, Poland.
The black and white photo shows Aron’s parents, sisters Rivka, Chana and Zlota and brothers Issa and Velvel, all of whom were murdered by the Nazis.
Aron arrived in the UK in August 1945 with “The Boys” and worked in the diamond business and was renowned for his honesty and integrity. The wedding photo celebrates his marriage to Evelyn whom he met at the Primrose Club in London. They were married on 14th June 1953. The family photo shows Aron’s two children, Fiona born in 1958 and Gary in 1961, four grandchildren (not pictured) and five great-grandchildren. The youngest, Oliver Aron, is named after him.
Aron was a committed Zionist and only TB stopped him going to Palestine to help set up the state of Israel. He was laid to rest in Jerusalem in September 2013, the day before his granddaughter Alice made aliyah. Aron’s Hebrew name and the photo of Jerusalem symbolize his love of Israel.
Aron was a tough man – really tough. Without his physical and mental strength he probably would not have lived many years past his stroke in 1995.

Gary Zylberszac

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