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Wooden box with inlaid initials used by a Polish Jew in hiding in the Boryslaw ghetto 2004.706.8 closed

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Handmade wooden box used by Zbyszek Kelhoffer to store personal items in the Jewish ghetto in Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine), 1941-1945. The box had belonged to his grandfather, Maurycy, a surgeon, who used it to store his surgical instruments. From 1941-1943, Zbyszek was a forced laborer in the Beskiden Oil factory camp in German occupied Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine). When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Zbyszek was mobilized into the Polish Army. After a brief campaign, he returned to Soviet occupied Boryslaw. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and Zbyszek was drafted into the Soviet Army. He was captured by the Germans, escaped, and returned home. On July 1, German troops occupied Boryslaw. There was a succession of joint German SS and Ukrainian pogroms killing hundreds of Jews. Zbyszek's wife Sydzia and her mother went into hiding. After Belzec killing center opened in March 1942, 1000s of Boryslaw Jews were deported there. By October 1942, Zbyszek, his parents, and two sisters-in-law were confined in the ghetto. Zbyszek was allowed to leave for work and his worker status probably delayed deportation selection. The ghetto was raided often and many were shot during round-ups. By February 1943, Zbyszek had to move to the slave labor camp. SS and Ukrainian troops moved into the ghetto to eliminate the remaining Jews. His parents were shot. Sydzia and her mother joined her two sisters in hiding in June 1943. Zbyszek joined them in December. The Soviet Army liberated Boryslaw on August 8, 1944. Zbyszek and his family were among only 200 surviving Jews from a population of 12,000. After the war ended in May 1945, Boryslaw was Soviet territory, so they left for Poland.

Handmade wooden box used by Zbyszek Kelhoffer to store personal items in the Jewish ghetto in Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine), 1941-1945. The box had belonged to his grandfather, Maurycy, a surgeon, who used it to store his surgical instruments. From 1941-1943, Zbyszek was a forced laborer in the Beskiden Oil factory camp in German occupied Boryslaw, Poland (Boryslav, Ukraine). When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Zbyszek was mobilized into the Polish Army. After a brief campaign, he returned to Soviet occupied Boryslaw. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and Zbyszek was drafted into the Soviet Army. He was captured by the Germans, escaped, and returned home. On July 1, German troops occupied Boryslaw. There was a succession of joint German SS and Ukrainian pogroms killing hundreds of Jews. Zbyszek's wife Sydzia and her mother went into hiding. After Belzec killing center opened in March 1942, 1000s of Boryslaw Jews were deported there. By October 1942, Zbyszek, his parents, and two sisters-in-law were confined in the ghetto. Zbyszek was allowed to leave for work and his worker status probably delayed deportation selection. The ghetto was raided often and many were shot during round-ups. By February 1943, Zbyszek had to move to the slave labor camp. SS and Ukrainian troops moved into the ghetto to eliminate the remaining Jews. His parents were shot. Sydzia and her mother joined her two sisters in hiding in June 1943. Zbyszek joined them in December. The Soviet Army liberated Boryslaw on August 8, 1944. Zbyszek and his family were among only 200 surviving Jews from a population of 12,000. After the war ended in May 1945, Boryslaw was Soviet territory, so they left for Poland.

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  • Title: Wooden box with inlaid initials used by a Polish Jew in hiding in the Boryslaw ghetto 2004.706.8 closed
  • Provenance: The wooden box was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Barbara Kelhoffer Bieganiec, the daughter of of Sydonia and Zbigniew Kelhoffer., The wooden box was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Barbara Kelhoffer Bieganiec, the daughter of of Sydonia and Zbigniew Kelhoffer.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Ukraine--Boryslav--Personal narratives. Jewish families--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. Jews--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. Slave labor--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Personal narratives., Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Ukraine--Boryslav--Personal narratives. Jewish families--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. Jews--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. Slave labor--Ukraine--Boryslav--Biography. World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor--Personal narratives.
  • Type: Containers, Containers
  • Rights: Permanent Collection, Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Rectangular, handmade, varnished, brown wooden box with a double hinged, recessed lid, and dove tailed joined corners. The layered lid top has 2 black painted inlaid wood initials and 8 flat head screws. The lid front has 2 rivets on either side of a silver colored turn knob. A silver colored metal hasp lock and a C shaped, movable, gold colored metal handle are riveted to a plate on the base front. The knob and hasp are set into fitted recesses shaped for the lock. Near the sides front are carved recesses with silver colored metal hooked latches riveted to the base; on either side of the rivet are semi-circular thumb depressions. The latches move upward to secure the lid and base. The base bottom is made of 2 rectangular pieces glued to the sides and has 8 empty screw holes. The box lid opens flat. The interior base and lid sides have corresponding, carved, rounded, rectangular insets. A rectangular wooden piece is nailed to the center back. The exterior has white paint remnants and scratches., Rectangular, handmade, varnished, brown wooden box with a double hinged, recessed lid, and dove tailed joined corners. The layered lid top has 2 black painted inlaid wood initials and 8 flat head screws. The lid front has 2 rivets on either side of a silver colored turn knob. A silver colored metal hasp lock and a C shaped, movable, gold colored metal handle are riveted to a plate on the base front. The knob and hasp are set into fitted recesses shaped for the lock. Near the sides front are carved recesses with silver colored metal hooked latches riveted to the base; on either side of the rivet are semi-circular thumb depressions. The latches move upward to secure the lid and base. The base bottom is made of 2 rectangular pieces glued to the sides and has 8 empty screw holes. The box lid opens flat. The interior base and lid sides have corresponding, carved, rounded, rectangular insets. A rectangular wooden piece is nailed to the center back. The exterior has white paint remnants and scratches.

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