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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:                       MARTY STORCH

INTERVIEWERS:                SARA GHITIS

                                            RUTH EINSTEIN

DATE:                                  SEPTEMBER 12, 2006

LOCATION:                         ATLANTA, GEORGIA 

Transcript (PDF)

BIOGRAPHY:

Marty Storch was born Motek Sztorch in Ozorkow, Poland on January 6, 1924. He was one of four sons and two daughters born to Moishe, a successful businessman, and his wife, Miriam. Miriam died when Marty was three years old, but his father soon remarried. The family attended synagogue and enjoyed a comfortable life until the antisemitism rampant in Germany in the 1930’s began to seep into Poland. After the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, the Jews of Orzokow were forced to endure many restrictions and abuses.         In 1941, Marty was sent to northern Poland to help build roads for a few months before he was able to return home. Marty’s youngest sister was sent to the Chelmno extermination camp in the spring of 1942 and the rest of the family was sent to the Lodz ghetto in the summer of 1942. In 1943, Marty was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was employed as an electrician. His job allowed him access to much of the camp and Marty witnessed many gruesome scenes. In 1944, the family that remained in Lodz was separated. Marty’s father was killed in Lodz, his stepmother and sister sent to a camp, and two of his brothers were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. However, Marty was only briefly reunited with his brothers before he was sent to a labor camp in Gorlitz, a town along the German-Polish border.

Russian soldiers liberated Marty in Gorlitz on May 8, 1945. He made his way home to Orzokow after some convalescence and was met with some hostility by old neighbors. Marty stayed in his hometown for a little while, living in a friend’s home with other survivors who had returned. Eventually, Marty met his future wife, Dora and her sister, who were the only survivors from their family.

Meanwhile, Marty’s brother, Jack, had survived the war, but the brother who had been with them in Auschwitz-Birkenau had died from illness shortly after the war ended. After the war, Jack reunited with a cousin, Rubin, and the two tracked down Marty.  Marty and Jack learned that their stepmother and other sister had been drowned shortly before the war ended and their oldest brother, who had fled east at the beginning of the war, had been killed when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union.

Jack, Marty, and Rubin survived by engaging in Black Market trading, but soon began to fear for their safety under the Russians. Marty and Dora were hastily married and the foursome fled to the American-occupied zone in Germany. Rubin soon immigrated to the United States. Marty and Jack made a good living off of the Black Market and moved to many different towns. Marty completed his education and Dora gave birth to a daughter.

In 1949, Jack, Marty, Dora, and their daughter immigrated to the United States. Jack settled in Atlanta, Georgia with their cousin. Marty and his young family settled in New Jersey briefly before also coming to Atlanta. Marty found work at Lockheed, but soon opened a bar and restaurant with Jack.  The brothers then operated a grocery store before Jack decided to venture into building apartments.    

While building a successful career in Atlanta, Jack and Dora had another daughter and a son. When the children were older, Jack enjoyed travelling and sharing his experiences with schools and other groups. He was immensely proud of his four grandchildren. Jack died in 2007.

Scope of Interview:

Marty introduces his family and hometown. He describes how life changed during the 1930’s and after the Germans invaded Poland. Marty explains how he was sent out to work building highways and how desperate he was to return home. Marty recounts how his youngest sister was killed, his family sent to the Lodz ghetto, and his father later killed. He outlines how he avoided a transport at the end of the war, returned home after the war, and was eventually reunited with one brother. Marty describes arriving in Auschwitz-Birkenau and shares some of his experiences there, including reuniting with two brothers briefly.  He recalls his experiences and interactions in Gorlitz, Germany at the end of the war. Marty describes where he went after liberation and the process of looking for surviving family. He describes his interactions with the Soviets and Americans. Marty details his career and immigration to the United States. He reflects on his children and grandchildren. He shares stories of the people he has helped over the years or the students he has shared his experiences with. 

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