In 1942 German Nazis took Helen and her siblings Bela, Nathan, Regina and Sonia from Chmielnik and sent them to labor camps. Helen Greenspun’s parents, Kalman and Sara, and her younger siblings, Fishel and Rachel, along with most of Chmielnik’s Jewish citizens deemed unfit for labor, were shipped to Treblinka, Poland where they were gassed in October – November 1942.
Helen was just 15 in September 1942 when Nazi troops began deporting Jews 16 and older from her hometown of Chmielnik, a mostly Jewish town in central Poland. She had taken a small package containing bread, socks and other amenities to her sister Sonia and brother Nathan. They were the only two of the seven children of Kalman and Sara Garfinkel old enough to report to the town square to wait for the trucks that would send them to forced labor in a camp two hours away. Helen survived two labor camps and five concentration camps: Skarzysko , Chestochowa, Bergen Belsen, Turkheim, Burgau, Dachau, and Allach.
Helen Greenspun has lived in Central Florida since 1973. She has volunteered with the Holocaust Memorial and Education Center of Florida since 1981and was recognized by Orlando Magazine, January 2010, as a “Good Neighbor Who Gives From the Heart” for donating her time to share her Holocaust experiences with students of all ages throughout Central Florida. Helen was also honored at the Holocaust Memorial and Education Center of Florida Annual Dinner in 2013.
Helen’s story is told by Suzan Hagstrom in the book, Sara’s Children.
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