Ella Rosenblatt Krzetowski
Ella Rosenblatt Krzetowski (born: Lodz, Poland, May 22, 1925), the second of four siblings. Her parent’s business was a clothes cleaning/dry cleaner on the main street, Perticofzka, in a mixed Jewish, German, Polish neighborhood. Ella was 14 years old when Germany invaded Poland in 1939; she, like the other Jewish children, was not allowed to return to school.
Ella and her family were sent to the Lodz ghetto, where she stayed for until 1944. In the ghetto, she worked making saddles for the Germans and then at the tailor shop sewing German uniforms. She would collect food for the family by sneaking out of the ghetto.
The Lodz ghetto was liquidated in August 1944. Ella was sent to Auschwitz, then Bergen-Belsen and then to Magdeburg, the second largest city in the German State of Saxony-Anhalt.
There were small actions that helped cope with the terrible conditions. Each morning, before work, she would go behind the large ammunition manufacturing machine, change into an apron and wash her clothes, using the radiator to dry them. Ella was liberated by Russian forces near the Germany-Poland border. When asked where, she replied “how would I know? There were no signs!”
Ella arrived in Lodz on May 16, 1945, locating the janitor from her old house, and then learning that her parents (Benjamin and Fajga), sister (Esther), and older brother (Aaron) had perished. There she met Leon, her future husband, whom she had known in the Lodz ghetto, where he repaired her shoes. They were married in July 1946. At that time, she was reunited with her brother after he returned from Russia
The family lived in a Displaced Persons camp, where her daughters Florence and Fay (November 1946 and June 1951) were born. The family moved to Chicago in 1952, where a son, Joseph, was born. Ella worked nights at the Shure Brothers factory in Evanston, while Leon worked days as a house painter. Ella and Leon were married for 71 years. They raised three children and have seven grandchildren.