Under the cover of war, the Nazis moved Jews around territories they occupied. They did this to achieve two aims: to use some as slave labour to support the war effort and ultimately to murder all the Jews in Europe.
Jews from Krakow rounded up for deportation wait on the railway station platform for further transport.
An item on display
Young child’s dress
Warsaw, Poland, c. 1940
This velvet dress was worn by Basia Puszet who was six months old when war broke out in Poland. Her grandmother had made it using material from her own blouse. Basia was murdered in Treblinka at the age of three.
Basia’s parents, Pola and Mirek, had moved from Warsaw Ghetto to nearby Zelechow as they hoped life would be better there. In 1942 they decided to return to the ghetto and found a Christian couple to look after Basia. Pola went ahead to Warsaw Ghetto. Unfortunately, the Christian couple changed their minds, fearing being denounced for hiding a Jew, so they returned the young child to Mirek. The next day the Nazis came through Zelechow and took Basia, along with other Jewish children and elderly people, to their deaths in Treblinka. Mirek escaped and tried to conceal Basia’s fate from Pola, but eventually, she learned the truth.
Mirek and Pola moved out of the ghetto and survived the war pretending to be Christian. Pola kept this dress as a reminder of her beloved Basia. They moved to Australia and had another child but never got over their loss.
Source: JHC, courtesy of Pola Puszet