"Don't Forget Me" - Children's Personal Albums From the Holocaust

Franka Kleczewska | Hedva Grizim

Franka, the first-born daughter of Mordechai (b. 1901) and Miriam née Pass (b. 1910), was born in 1927 in Łódź.  The couple had three more boys:  Simcha (1930), Yehuda (1932) and Moshe (1936).  Mordechai was a salesman.  Franka’s maternal grandparents, Alter and Sara Pass, and her mother’s brother and his family also lived in Łódź.

The Kleczewka family was incarcerated in the Łódź ghetto.  Franka’s mother Miriam, her father Mordechai, and her grandparents Alter and Sarah perished in the ghetto in 1940, and 13-year-old Franka was left alone with three little brothers.  The boys were moved to the orphanage in the ghetto.  One day when Franka came to visit them, she found their room empty.  “Their shoes that had been left behind were still warm”, she recalls.  She was told that they had been thrown out of the window and taken away from the ghetto, never to return.  Franka was left entirely alone.  She moved to one of the children’s homes (Kinder Kolonie) in Marysin, the agricultural area of the ghetto where the youth movements had established Hachsharot (pioneer training groups), and where there were schools for the children.

Franka remained in Marysin until the end of the war thanks to her adoption by a Jewish doctor, Michael Eliasberg, whom the Germans deemed necessary and who remained in the ghetto working as a surgeon.  His wife ran a physical training school that also continued to operate in the ghetto.  After liberation, her adoptive parents realized that Franka had to leave Poland, and although they had no children of their own, they encouraged her to immigrate to Israel. 

Franka’s friends in the children’s home in Marysin wrote dedications in the album that she took with her to Israel.

Don’t rely on others, build your life yourself.
Even if your bitter fate tests you
Know that hard work is nothing to be ashamed of,
That daily toil is our victory over the enemy!!!
To my happy friend from before the war, Basia

Basia, like many of the girls signed on the dedications in the album, is presumed to have been murdered.

Franka immigrated to Israel in 1948 and met her sole surviving relative, Yehiel Alter Pass, brother of her grandmother, Sarah.  She changed her name to Hedva, enlisted in the IDF and worked for a short time in the Dajani hospital in Jaffa.  She married Haim Heniek Grausam, a Holocaust survivor, and they settled in Petach Tikva, changing their family name to Grizim.  Chaim and Hedva had a son and a daughter.