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.
few years ago, I had access to the German records of prisoners
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.