Dear Family & Friends,

With Armistice/Veterans Day being this November 11, we'd like to honor and commemorate those family members who served during World War II and remember the family most directly impacted by the Holocaust.
Those who served during World War II
Five of our cousins served with honor and distinction during WWII in the US and British Armies. They were largely first or second generation citizens of their new home countries and served throughout Europe - including France, Italy, Germany and North Africa. They served knowing the  family in eastern Europe were at risk and went home  with many honors and recognitions, including a Bronze Star and several Purple Hearts.  

They fought in a number of famous battles, including D-Day and the Battle of Hedgerows (which was an important battle for a strategic Communications center in France during the first few weeks after D-Day).

During the Second World War the British Army formed a Jewish Brigade made up of Jews primarily from what was then still Palestine. The Brigade was commanded by British Jewish officers and fought in Italy, Greece, North Africa and elsewhere.  Many of its members went on to important positions within the Israeli government or military. One of our cousins, Pista Pollner,  was among the Jewish Brigades many members. Pista was in Italy with the Brigade where he saw Mussolini hanging.
More about the family members who fought during WWII can be found on our website:
Why we fought: The Family in the Holocaust

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz Inmate, 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner
The Holocaust, one of Europe's darkest and most difficult times, had a major impact on many of our family members. Of our oldest known relatives, Izidor Pollner (1827 - 1879) and his wife Betty Krumholz (1834-1937), three of their 9 children were impacted the most. They were:
  • Beno Pollner (1855 - ??),
  • Augusta Pollner Czeisler (1875 - ??)
  • Pauline Pollner Fried (1851 - 1925).
A number of their children and grandchildren were sent to Concentration Camps - primarily Auschwitz and Ravensbruck, but several were taken to Dachau and Treblinka.

What follows is a summary of the camps we know family members were sent to along with some information on who was at each camp. Visit our website for a complete list of the family members that were in each of the Concentration Camps, how they were related to us and more about what happened to them.

Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau was one of the most famous of the Nazi Concentration Camps. It is in Oswiecim, Poland which is about 140 KM (~87 miles) north west of Spisska Stara Ves, Slovakia (where Izidor and Betty Pollner lived).  It is about 66 KM (~41 miles) from Krakow, Poland, which is where a number of the Krumholzs are from and 170 KM (~105 miles) from Szczawnica, Poland which is where Betty Krumholz Pollner was born.  Its proximity to where the family lived is likely a primary reason why many family members ended up there.

Among its more famous inmates were Anne Frank (i.e. as in the "Diary of Anne Frank") and Elie Wiesel (Noted author and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in speaking out against violence, repression and racism).

Josef Mengele was a German SS officer and physician at Auschwitz notorious for the selection of victims to be killed in the gas chambers and for performing unscientific, often deadly, human experiments on Auschwitz  prisoners.

We had 10 family members at Auschwitz from the families of Beno Pollner; Augusta Pollner Czeisler and Geza Pollner.  A few survived, but only after experiencing a very horrible time. Two of the survivors were twins, who had to suffer through the experiments Mengele was conducting on Twins.

Dachau Concentration Camp
The Dachau Concentration Camp was in Dachau, Germany which is just outside of Munich. This is about 900 KM due west of Spisska Stara Ves, Slovakia.  While Auschwitz might be the most famous Concentration Camp, Dachau was the first.
Dachau was liberated by the United States on April 29, 1945. It was featured in a number of movies, including the US TV Series Band Of Brothers.
Two of our family members were at Dachau.  Aranka Pollner survived and returned to Budapest after the war, where her family still lives. The other, Janos Pollner, passed away in Dachau. Note - we have 2 Janos Pollners in the family. One (Arankas son) survived Auschwitz, the other passed away in Dachau.  

Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
Ravensbruck was around 90 KM north of Berlin, Germany. It was liberated by the Soviet Army soon after they liberated Auschwitz.
Seven of our family members were here, primarily children and grandchildren of Pauline Pollner Fried (Pauline is the daughter of our eldest known family members - Izidor & Betty Pollner).
Paulines son (Izidor) and his wife, Seren, both died in Ravensbruck. Three of Izidor & Serens children were captured in 1944 while hiding in the surrounding mountains. Only one survived. Paulines eldest son, Moric Fried, also survived - but returned a walking skeleton in September 1945.

Treblinka & Other Concentration Camps
Treblinka is north east of Warsaw, Poland. More Jews were killed here than any other Nazi extermination camp other than Auschwitz. It operated from July 1942 through October 1943. During that period, an estimated 700,000 - 900,000 Jews were killed. This is also where the notorious guard known as "Ivan the Terrible" served.
Two members of our family, Berta Krumholz and her husband Sigmund Fanto, were taken to Treblinka from Vienna in 1941 and died there.
There are unfortunately many other family members who were impacted by the Holocaust, but we have at incomplete information on what happened to them. One of our Cousins from the Krumholz family died at the hands of the Nazis, but it is unclear what the circumstances were. He lived in Krakow, Poland - which is not far from Auschwitz and perhaps ended up.
There are two other Pollners who died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. It is unclear how or where they died. We've listed what we know on our website - Hopefully over time we will be able to fill in some of the missing details.

We now have over 90 people on this mailing list from around the world including Slovakia, Hungary, Israel, Australia, Luxembourg, Canada, England, Denmark, the U.S. and more.

Please keep in mind that what we know about the family is only as good as the information you provide. So, if there are any stories you want to share, omissions or inaccuracies you wish to correct - please let me know!!

Rich Pollner

Quick Links
Pollner, Krumholz, Gross Site
Interested in Finding out more about each Concentration Camp?
Auschwitz & Treblinka
Treblinka and Auschwitz were both in an area of Poland near where our family was from, which is likely why so many of our family members ended up there. More people were killed in Auschwitz and Treblinka than any other camp, 1.1 million of whom died at Auschwitz. 

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has extensive information on the Holocaust and each of the camps.

Ravensbruck was primarily a camp for Women, although it did have some male inmates (including some of our family) 

Explore, Dream, Discover | |