The teenage Rivka Schenker (later Regina Goldfinger) from the small town of Radomyśl Wielki survived the Holocaust by hiding in the Dulecki Forest with a group of armed Jewish partisans in the Subcarpathian region of southeastern Poland. As many as 250-300 Jews took shelter in this forest. Rivka was one of fewer than 50 Jews to survive. Most came from the nearby towns of Radomyśl Wielki and Dąbrowa Tarnowska. The group, led by the Amsterdam brothers, were the largest group of Jewish partisans in the county. The Amsterdam brothers themselves represent an overlooked demographic of village Jews (dorf yidn) in the history of the Holocaust. After the war, most of its surviving members were scattered across Israel, the US, and Canada. Rivka herself moved to Toronto. The extraordinary story of their 27-month survival in the forest remains one of the untold stories of the Holocaust.
Tomasz Frydel is a PhD candidate in the Department of History and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto, writing under the supervision of Dr. Piotr Wróbel and Dr. Doris Bergen. He was born in Zabrze, Poland, and immigrated to the US in 1991. He completed his MA in History at Brandeis University, where he studied under Dr. Antony Polonsky. His dissertation examines village society and the Holocaust in occupied Poland. In 2013, he was a fellow at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich and is currently a Claims Conference Saul Kagan Fellowship in Advanced Shoah Studies. His essays have appeared in five edited volumes, most recently in Microhistories of the Holocaust, ed. Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann (Berghahn Books, 2017) and Perpetrators and Perpetration of Mass Violence: Action, Motivations and Dynamics, ed. Timothy Williams and Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Routledge, 2018).
This programme is proudly sponsored by The Goldfinger Family Holocaust Education Fund at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue.