Children of the Holocaust Severin Szperling


Severin Szperling

Severin Szperling
Born 1940 in Częstochowa, Poland When he was two-and-a-half, his parents snuck him out of the Częstochowa ghetto and gave him to a Gentile couple, who hid him from Nazi patrols in a hole in the ground for two years.


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Severin, age 5.
The Szperling family before the war. Severin’s father, Michal (top row) with his six sisters, cousin, and parents. Only Severin’s aunt Sabina (top right) survived. She emigrated to Palestine in 1932.
Michal Szperling (left) in a café with friends in 1930. Severin wonders if one of the women in the picture is his mother, Nahuma Prybulski. He can’t remember what she looked like.
Severin’s paternal grandmother, Faigla Katuzinska, died before the Holocaust.
Severin never knew the fate of his mother’s family. He believes the man in the center of this photo could be his grandfather, who taught at a yeshiva in Kielce, Poland, before the Holocaust.
Severin’s cousin Wanda Kozusznik survived in hiding during the Holocaust. After liberation, she was shot on the street in Krakow while walking home from school.
The New Synagogue in Czestochowa was built in 1899 and burned to the ground by the Nazis on Christmas Day 1939. The Czestochowa Philharmonic was built on the site in 1960.
Severin, age 5, during the first days after the Russians liberated Czestochowa.
Severin in 1946.
Severin, age 6 or 7.
Severin, age 8.
A childless Gentile couple, Anna and Stanislaw Pociepny, hid Severin during the Holocaust and raised him as their son after the war.
Severin’s cousin Renia Zaks found him after the war and planned to take him to their aunt Sabina in Palestine. But Anna Pociepny followed them to the store that day. Renia had no opportunity to get him away.
During his school years, classmates sometimes teased and harassed Severin for being a Jew.
Severin was raised with an awareness that he was a Holocaust survivor, but his adoptive parents raised him as a Catholic.
Severin in high school.
After high school, Severin worked in an architecture firm. Later in his career, he became a plumbing contractor.
When Severin decided to leave Poland, a Jewish organization advised him to use his mother’s last name, Prybulski, to make it easier for surviving family members to find him.
Severin and his cousin Renia. They remained close throughout his life.
Severin designed this Holocaust memorial medal in memory of his parents. These medals pay tribute to victims and survivors.
He spent more than 35 years researching and collecting Holocaust medals. He and his daughter Julie published a catalog of medals. He donated his own collection to museums.
The back cover of his book. Severin is a world-famous collector of Holocaust medals.
A memorial to the Jews who were killed by the Nazis in Czestochowa, Poland.
During every visit to Poland, Severin leaves an Israeli flag and a US flag at the memorial to the Jews of Czestochowa, where his parents’ names are inscribed.
Severin with his wife, Alfreda. They were sweethearts in Czestochowa. She died in 2021.
Severin’s wife, Alfreda, and daughters Julie (left) and Michelle.
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