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by Fred Cutter

Chaia by Fred Cutter

My mother in law was named Gertrude Pupko before she married Bernard Kanter in Boston. She came from a family of nine siblings. She corresponded with the siblings who remained in Lida until World War II.

Chaia Pupko married Mr. Meyerow, a carpenter in Ostrina before 1905. They had a son Moise born in 1920. She probably had other children before Moise, but this information is missing. Her younger sister Elke who was trained as a Feldsher or physician was evacuated in 1942 by the Communist government, anticipating the German invasion. When Elke returned after the war there was no trace of Chaia. The Yiskor book for Lida notes that May 8th was the date of the Nazi pogrom in which older or infirm Jews were killed. The young and strong were arrested and became slave labor. Auschwitz was relatively close to Lida.

A few years ago, I had access to the German records of prisoners incarcerated at Auschwitz. While killing the infirm immediately on arrival, the Germans were very thorough about getting biographical details on their slave labor. A search for the family name Pupko yielded "C. Pupko". Reading the data associated with This name, I found that it was given by a young man Moise Meyerow age 22, which was arrested in October 1942. He lists his occupation as a carpenter. He gives his mother's name and father's name.

From this I inferred that this was the missing Chaia, and her youngest son, who probably did not survive very long in this infamous concentration camp. But for us the survivors it filled a gap in our awareness of what had happened to this older sibling.

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""No one yet knows what awaits the Jews in the twenty-first century, but we must make every effort to ensure that it is better than what befell them in the twentieth, the century of the Holocaust." - Benjamin Netanyahu

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