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  • Jane

One whole century old - 'Stolat' to Marysia!

Happy birthday to our darling precious mum, nana and great nana!!

So is mum really 100?

Her Australian passport shows that she was born in 1924. I always thought that was her birth date, until a few years ago when our close family friend, David Prince (Z"L), a Holocaust survivor and guide at the Melbourne Holocaust Centre, calls me from the Centre's library:

I have proof that Marysia was born in 1923 and not 1924 ! He sounds excited and breathless.

She is a year older than what we think!’ David continues. I’m here in the library at the Holocaust Museum looking through the Łódź Ghetto Records. I searched Marysia’s name and it showed the details of her and her parents - their names, ages, professions, home address before the ghetto and while in the ghetto.

It's a fact - your mother was born in 1923!

One year's difference in age is not a big deal when you're either 99 or 100. Nevertheless, David's news prompted me to research mum's real age. I found 3 helpful facts:

  1. I searched the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)’s data base and sure enough the same details appeared there. (see images).

2. My Aunty Madzia was a year younger than mum (confirmed by my first cousin, Anat, who lives in Israel). This year, 2023, my Aunty would have turned 99. And mum -100!

3. The other day I was listening to an interview I recorded back in 2008 of mum recounting her war stories. When asked how old she was when the war broke out, she replies:

…When the war broke out I was finishing 15 years. I was already quite a grownup girl…

Quite courageous.

Courage I always had.

[Jane_DV_2 Interview with mum. January 2008(2) 59:57]

I was so excited to hear mum reveal her age.

My mind starts calculating numbers. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. According to the recording, mum 'was finishing 15 years when the war broke out', She would have been 15 years and 11 months at the time. She turned 16 a month later, on the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah, which was on the 6th October 1939.

Another maths' equation: 1939 --16 years old = 1923. Result = mum was born in 1923

4. I also contacted Lena Fiszman, who had worked for many years at the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne.

I hoped she could help me clarify mum’s date of birth. She sent me a link to the Yad Vashem ‘Pages of Testimony’ records which also confirmed mum's birth date to be 1923.

Anyway, this is my own little game and interest. I like to think mum’s 100 today, but either way, it’s her birthday - hip hip hurray to our mum and an exceptional human being!

I love her very much


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