The Rein family – Maurycy-Artur, Stella Esther née Morgenstern and their daughters, Wanda (b. 1923) and Marta (b. 1925) – lived in Lodz, Poland. Stella had been teaching German and Latin at the Gymnazjum Aba, a well-known high school for girls, since 1921. From 1933 until the outbreak of World War II, Stella was the school principal, and her daughters both studied there. Maurycy passed away in 1936, and he is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Lodz.
In 1940, Stella and her girls moved to the ghetto that was established in Lodz. Stella taught at the Rumkowski high school in the ghetto, and ran the school until it was closed. Wanda and Marta studied at the school. Wanda completed her high school studies and received a matriculation certificate signed by her mother, the school principal. After the ghetto school’s closure, Stella continued to teach, first in the slipper factory, and then in the orphanage in Marysin, the agricultural area of the ghetto. Active in one of the ghetto’s youth movements, Wanda was one of the founders of the quasi-training collective kibbutzim that were set up in Marysin.
On 17 August 1944, during the period of the ghetto’s liquidation, Wanda married her fellow collective member, Mordechai-Motek Folman, in the hope that they would be able to continue to live together as a married couple after the deportation. Their wedding was the last to take place in the Lodz ghetto.
On 27 August 1944, Stella and Marta Rein, Wanda (Rein) and Mordechai Folman, and Mordechai’s mother Ita-Leah Folman were all deported from the Lodz ghetto to Auschwitz. The two elderly women, Stella and Ita, were murdered in the gas chambers on arrival. Marta, Wanda and Mordechai passed the selection and were assigned to forced labor in the camp. Several weeks after their arrival at Auschwitz, Marta was sent to the gas chambers of Birkenau. In late October 1944, Wanda was sent to a forced labor camp in the Sudetenland, and survived.
One year after they were separated at Auschwitz, Wanda and Mordechai Folman were reunited. In 1950, they immigrated to Israel.