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Federman and Chernikowski Families

I write this in honor of my grandparents, Joseph and Tova Chernikowski, and Avram and Esther Federman, all of whom lived in Poland and lost beloved family members in the Holocaust. Tova Chernikowski emigrated to Palestine at the start of the war, but her four sisters stayed behind. One sister survived the Nazi camps, but the others and their families were killed in Treblinka. 

Esther Federman also emigrated to Palestine with her parents and siblings at the start of the war, but one brother stayed behind. Her father travelled back to Poland to help him escape, but neither survived. Avram Federman was drafted into the Polish army and survived as a prisoner of war in Siberia, while the rest of his family perished. 

Joseph Chernikowski survived multiple Nazi labor camps before finding himself on a train bound for Auschwitz, along with one brother and one sister. All three jumped from the moving train and hid in a forest before being caught by German soldiers. His sister was killed, but he and his brother escaped and survived in hiding for the remainder of the war. Their parents and other siblings were murdered in Treblinka.

— Michael Federman

 

 

 

(Photo Left: The Chernikowski family in Opatow, Poland, 1922.  Joseph Chernikowski is standing on the chair. His parents and sisters (pictured) and two of his brothers all died in Treblinka)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Right: Tova Chernikowski (standing in the center) with her older sisters and their families in Opatow, Poland, 1930's.  Tova and one sister were the only survivors.)

 

 


In 1997, Joseph Chernikowski shared his full Holocaust testimony with the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.  Below a short excerpt from that video testimony, where Joseph recalls finding himself on a train bound for Auschwitz:  

 

Sat, May 18 2024 10 Iyar 5784