Tauba Biterman

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Tauba Biterman (born December 6, 1918)[1] is a Holocaust survivor. She has dedicated her adult life to teaching and sharing memories of the Holocaust. Her speeches paint a realistic portrait of what a Jewish girl from Poland went through between 1939 and 1945.

Biterman's story differs from the stories of other Jewish Holocaust survivors because she was forced to abandon her identity during the war years, live an underground existence, and never was in a Concentration Camp. She was in the Dubno ghetto in Poland, but managed to escape with the help of a non-Jewish man she knew. During the period of 1939-1945, she was separated from her family and entirely removed from Jewish life.

Early years[edit]

1918-1939[edit]

Biterman was born and raised in Zamość, Poland, the oldest daughter of a cap maker. When she was 18, she, her parents and her four younger siblings fled their home for what is now Ukraine, thinking life under the Russians would be better for Jews.

1939-1945[edit]

Thinking they would be able to continue to see her, Biterman’s family left her in what is now Ukraine because she had a job. Meanwhile, they went to a different part of the former Soviet Union.

"But it didn’t work out ... because [subsequently] Germany started the war and then I was on my own. I was very naïve, but God gave me so much strength and so much courage."[2]

Biterman was first hidden, then passed as a German from the Black Forest. She survived by staying on the move, working when she could get work, and staying alert to the suspicions and accusations of Poles and Ukrainians who "always looked for Jews and hunted us out."

[One of] her many harrowing experiences included having guns held to her head to coerce her into confessing that she was a Jew.

"I was very strong and life was precious. I didn’t want to die from a bullet."[2]

1948-present[edit]

In 1948 Biterman and her husband Judah (also a Holocaust survivor) emigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There they were forced to learn the American way of life, raise their children, and earn a living.

Speaking and Volunteering[edit]

Biterman has spoken about her experience to a variety of groups including numerous schools, universities, synagogues, and civic groups in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors left who is able to speak in the entire state of Wisconsin.

She never refuses a request to talk about her personal Holocaust experience and does so because she believes "it’s important for young people to know about the Holocaust so it shouldn’t happen again." [2]

As of 2009, Biterman is writing a book about her experience during the war years.

Advocacy and Awareness[edit]

Biterman believes the Holocaust would never have happened if the Jewish people had their own space. "A people without a home is not respected and [other nations] do with you what they want." [2] She is a strong and vocal advocate for Holocaust education and a steadfast supporter of Israel.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, The burden and responsibility of retelling http://www.jewishchronicle.org/article.php?article_id=6123, 2007.

References[edit]