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Helen and Sol Krawitz Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

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Survivor Profile










JUNE 6, 1909







  • BIOGRAPHY BY  nancy gorrell

    Adapted from I Am Because of You by Miriam Dobin, Niece (2015)

    My uncle Isadore was a very special man. He was kind and dear, generous, loving and caring…with no disrespect to my own father, my Uncle Isadore was really like a father to me. . .

    When I was 10 years old, my mother, may she rest in peace, had a stroke, and she stayed in the hospital, on and off, for the next 14 years. My father worked and came home late at night, so who would take care of a 10-year-old? Without question or thought, my Aunt Ella and Uncle Isadore took me into their home and raised me. In essence, I had four parents.

                                                                     —Miriam Dobin


    Isadore Reich was born in Kvakovce, Czechoslovakia on June 6, 1909. He came from a large family of seven siblings. He grew up in Secovce, Czechoslovakia (later Hungary). He came from a strictly Orthodox home and was educated in Torah and secular studies. He had a vast knowledge of the Torah and secular studies. Isadore alone survived the Holocaust. His parents, brothers and sisters all perished.  He had been married for nine years before the war to Ella Hecht. Miriam says in her memoir, Aunty” Ella.  “Thank G-d he had ‘Aunty Ella’. It was a true miracle that they both survived to come back to each other”.


    From February 1942 through the second day of Passover, April 1944, Isadore with his wife Ella were in hiding. Before that, they were on the run, hiding and sheltering throughout Czechoslavkia, Budapest and Hungary to escape the Nazis (Refer to Ella Reich’s Survivor Registry). There was a ghetto established in Nagyszollos, Hungary where they were already hiding. From April 1944 through early June 1944, they remained in this ghetto. Then they were transported by cattle car along with Ella’s sister Olga to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Ella and Olga remained there until they were transferred to a forced labor camp in Nuremberg, Germany (Refer to Ella Reich’s Survivor Registry).


    Isadore remained in Auschwitz and until later when he was transferred to Dachau in Germany. Men and women were immediately separated in upon arrival in Auschwitz and Isadore was not to see Ella again until they were miraculously reunited during liberation. Isadore was given a job working by the crematorium. A friend got him a job working in the stables with officer’s horses. Uncle’s left arm had been tattooed A-13552. Ella’s arm was not tattooed. Miriam states, “The people who didn’t receive tattoos on their forearms were ‘in transit’ meaning they were in Auschwitz temporarily until they were moved to another camp for work).

    Isadore described in Miriam’s memoir life in Auschwitz: “He said the guards would wake up the men in the barracks at midnight, make them line up, and force them to count out loud aimlessly. In the morning when he went to the washroom, he would see a pile of dead bodies stacked from floor to ceiling. He said he didn’t care if he lived or died.”


    When the war was over, and the Americans had liberated Dachau in the spring of 1945 (Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians in January 27, 1945), the Americans asked Isadore where he wanted to go. He was so weak he went to a Displaced Person’s Camp for a month. He did not know if Ella was alive, but he knew that his parents and brothers and sisters were murdered in 1942.


    Isadore made his way back to Galszecs in Czechoslovakia where he and Ella had been living before going into hiding in 1942. He and Ella had been tenants of the Wintners, a Jewish family that employed Isadore in their textile factory. When Isadore returned, they were shocked that he was alive. Mrs. Wintner nursed Isadore back to health. As Jews returned, Isadore received word that Ella was alive and coming home. When Isadore’s strength returned, he travelled to his parent’s home to pack up their belongings. Instead, he found not an empty house but a house inhabited by neighbors who had moved into the family home and were using all their belongings. The wife begged him not to throw them out, and handed him a chicken. Isadore left, found a man he knew from town, and made a deal with him. “I’ll sell you my house if you throw these people out.”


    When Isadore was healthier, he went back to work for Mr. Wintner in his store. Mr. Wintner gave him some money to start his own store. Ella and Olga, her sister had an uncle in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania who became their sponsors. He sent them papers and tickets so they could get visas. It was a long wait due to American quotas. They received visas to emigrate to the United States in 1949 arriving in Newark, New Jersey on January 1, 1949.


    Refer to Miriam Dobin’s memoir I am Because of You or her website www.Iambecauseofyou.net

  • Sources and Credits:


    Biography Adapted by Nancy Gorrell from I Am Because of You by Miriam Dobin (2015).


    The SSBJCC Holocaust Memorial and Education Center gratefully acknowledges the donation by Miriam Dobin of her memoir, I am Because of You (2015) and the donation of digital historic and family photographs and documents therein. website www.Iambecauseofyou.net. I Am Because of You at amazon.com