Each Name was a World
The Kanner family
Israel and Pearl Cohen lived in Wolbrom. The couple had five daughters: Sara, Geula, Chava, Belcza and Rivka. Israel and Pearl died before the war, and all their daughters perished during the Shoah, except for Chava, subsequently Chava Chapnik, who passed away in Israel.
Rivka Cohen, the youngest sister, married Leibel Kanner in the town of Wolbrom in 1921or 1922. The couple had five children: Israel, Laizer, Yankele (Yakov), Henry and Hindele (Hinda). They lived in Wolbrom until the outbreak of the war.
When the Wolbrom community was liquidated in September 1942, Leibel Kanner and his son Laizer were sent to Rzeszow, Galicia. One night Leibel had gone out to use the toilet and was shot to death in front of his son Laizer. Laizer was able to write a letter to his mother and other siblings, informing them that the father had been shot, but then was never heard of again.
Rivka Kanner and her three children – Yankele, Hindele and Henry – hid with a Polish family. They crossed the line between occupied Poland and Germany where they hid for a few nights with their aunt. From there they went to Sosnowiece, to hide with another family member. Henry, the youngest son, then aged 12, took it upon himself to bring food to the family from outside the town.
After a few weeks in Sosnowiece, while walking in the street with his mother one Saturday, Henry was caught and taken away, by a Jewish policeman, for forced labor – cleaning the streets and working in a shoe factory, amongst other jobs. Rivka, Yankele and Hindele were sent to Birkenau where they were murdered. Henry was sent to Srodula, where he was forced to clear houses of Jews from the ghetto that had been sent to Birkenau, in January 1944.
Israel Kanner, the oldest brother, was at that time imprisoned in the Plaszow labor camp, from where he was sent to Birkenau.
In January 1944, Henry was also sent to Birkenau, where he searched for and found his brother Yankele. He saw him for only a few hours, during which Yankele managed to tell Henry that their brother Israel had been sent from Birkenau to Warsaw, to clean up the rubble after the ghetto uprising. Yankele then handed Henry his piece of bread, saying that he had no need of the bread anymore. Henry never saw him again.
Israel, who had indeed been sent to Warsaw to clean up the ruins, was deported from there to Dachau. He survived the death march to Muehldorf, where he was liberated.
As the Russians approached, Henry was sent on a death march from Birkenau to Gleiwitz (Silesia), and from there by train to Sachsenhausen. From here he was marched on death march to Hagenow , where he was liberated.
Henry and Israel, the only survivors of the Kanner family, were reunited at the end of 1946 in Munich. Henry Kanner, who gave the pictures and details of his family’s story to Yad Vashem, married Denise, and they made Aliya in 1999. The couple has three children and four grandchildren.
Israel Kanner married Roza (Rushka). They have two daughters and three grandchildren. Israel passed away in the United States in 1977.
All rights reserved to Henry Kanner, Givatayim, Israel