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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:          RELLA SLOMAN

INTERVIEWER:      SARA GHITIS and RUTH EINSTEIN

DATE:                      MARCH 17, 2004

LOCATION:             ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

MEMOIRIST:          RELLA SLOMAN

INTERVIEWER:      RUTH EINSTEIN

DATE:                     FEBRUARY 19, 2010

LOCATION:             ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Rella Sloman nee Solski (sometimes spelled ‘Solsky’) was born May 22, 1928 in Kovno, Lithuania. Just outside the city, her family owned a mill which was very profitable.

Lithuania was occupied by the Russian in 1939 and then the Germans in 1941. When the Germans began their occupation, Rella and her family were moved into the Kovno ghetto where they stayed until 1944. In that year, the ghetto was evacuated, with most of the inhabitants were sent to one of two camps: Dachau or Stutthof. Rella and her family were hiding in a cellar when Rella, who became afraid they would run out of air and suffocate, began to cry, attracting the attention of the Nazis. Rella and her mother were sent to Stutthof. Her father, who blamed Rella for this discovery, she knew saw again; he perished in the Holocaust.

Rella and her mother survived work details in Stutthof and were later transferred to Thorn concentration camp. She survived the camps with her mother’s help and was taken to a hospital in Munich after liberation to be treated for tuberculosis. She went on to recuperate in Switzerland before she returned to Germany and married her husband, Bernard.

Eventually, Rella and Bernard were allowed to move to the United States. They first came to New York before settling in Atlanta with relatives. There, they started a family together, eventually having three kids.

Scope of Interview

The interview covers Rella time between the end of the war and now. She discusses running into the Red Army and dodging war zones as she and her mother attempted to find safety. She covers her time being sent to a sanitorium in Switzerland for tuberculosis and the time she spent there. It was during her time at the sanitorium, she tells the interviewer, that she was involved in Zionist movements such as Betar.

Much of the interview also focuses on her relationship with her husband, who she met shortly after the war. Rella gives a little background on her husband’s experiences during the Holocaust before discussing navigating life as an adult with him and taking control of her life once more.

At times she delves back into the past: her experiences in the Kovno Ghetto with her family, how her mother’s religion helped them both survive, the Selections at the Ninth Fort.

The latter half of the transcript focuses on her life with her family once she arrives in the United States. She discusses where she and her husband found work and how they moved to Atlanta. Rella also covers her move to Israel and her attachments to that country.

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