The Schor Family from Krakow Survived under Assumed Identities in Budapest

Yaakov Schor was born in 1933 in Krakow, to parents Zisel and Blima née Ekstein. He had two older siblings, Shmuel (b. 1922) and Branda (b. 1929). Zisel and his brothers came to Krakow from Stryi, and also had Turkish citizenship. Zisel made a good living in trade, and together with his brother Herz, they managed a large furniture store in Krakow. Their brother, Majer Schor, had a business selling household goods.

On 6 September 1939, the German Army occupied Krakow, and persecution of the Jews began immediately.  The occupying authorities declared Krakow the capital of the Generalgouvernement – the general government of occupied territories in Poland – and a ghetto was established there in March 1941.  Their Turkish citizenship gave the Schors an exemption from wearing the Jewish badge and moving to the ghetto, and they remained in their apartment.

Shmuel joined one of the Jewish resistance groups active in Krakow, left home and went into hiding.  In October 1942, the resistance movements in Krakow united as the "Jewish Fighting Organization", whose mission was armed resistance against the Nazi occupiers. To this end, they planned and carried out operations outside the ghetto, the most famous of which was the attack on the Cyganeria café in the center of town on 22 December 1942. The café was a well-known meeting place for German officers, and in this attack, 11 Germans were killed and 13 more were wounded.  Presumably as a result of denunciation, the Germans suspected Shmuel of participating in the attack, and searched for him.  Arriving at his parents' house, they arrested Zisel, Blima, Branda and Yaakov and imprisoned them in a holding cell in the ghetto.  Their Turkish citizenship no longer shielded them at this point, but they managed to smuggle out the two children with the help of bribes.  Yaakov was smuggled out of the ghetto hidden inside a wagon that supplied flour to the ghetto inmates, and was brought to his Uncle Herz's house. Herz was married to Eva and they had three daughters, Ella, Nina and Shoshana. Yaakov's sister Branda was smuggled out to her cousin Branda-Breindel Pluczenik, married to Eliyahu with two daughters, Debora-Dorotka (b.1934) and Cypora-Celina (b. 1936). The Schors understood that time was running out, and that they had to leave. Armed with forged ID papers as Polish Christians, and with the help of professional smugglers, Branda Pluczenik, her husband, their daughters and Branda Schor were smuggled to Hungary via Slovakia, and after many tribulations, they reached Budapest. Herz's older daughters were smuggled out separately in this manner. Before reaching Hungary, Branda Pluczenik drummed their new names into her daughters and their cousin, so that they would internalize their new identities.  She would also wake them up at night to test if they unwittingly revealed their Jewish origins.

Herz and Yaakov were caught in Krakow and were imprisoned in the ghetto Jail. Meanwhile, the Gestapo confiscated the Schor brothers' furniture store together with all its contents and stock. Herz managed to rescue them from the holding cell, and in 1943, they reached Budapest with Eva and Shoshana.  Herz obtained forged papers in the names of Henrik and Eva Sarszki, their daughter Iren and their nephew Jan.  After the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, fearing that their Jewish identity would be discovered, Herz, Eva and the two children moved to a Budapest suburb.  Also fearing for their girls, Branda and Eliyahu parted from them and found them hiding places in a convent.

The Schor and Pluczenik family members who reached Hungary from Poland survived under assumed identities until liberation.  They later found out that Shmuel had been caught by the Gestapo and executed.  Shmuel's parents, Zisel and Blima Schor, and Branda Pluczenik's parents, Majer and Mila Schor, were also murdered.

In 1945, siblings Yaakov and Branda Schor immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine) via Romania with the Youth Aliyah.  Herz, Eva and their three daughters also immigrated.  Branda and Eliyahu Pluczenik and their daughters moved to New Zealand after the war.

In 2019, the forged ID papers of the Schor's family displayed here, were donated to the Yad Vashem Archives as part of the "Gathering the Fragments" project.