Philip (Fiszel) Cytryn




My father, Philip (Fiszel) Cytryn, was born September 15, 1915, in Lodz, Poland. He had four sisters: Fela. Helen, Zosia, and Rachel and one brother, Yona. His parents were Lazar and Pesa. Lazar died before the war when he contracted pneumonia. Before going into work camps, my father would describe Lodz as a vibrant Jewish community. There was lots of theater and activities to do. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker. In the same apartment building where his family lived was Lola Blacharz and her family (See also Lola Blacharz Cytryn). They fell in love and became engaged before the war broke out, planning to marry sometime in the future.

When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Fiszel (Philip) was taken to work on the autobahn for a company named Bartle, driving  a locomotive. This job lasted for several years. In 1942, he worked for a company named Holtzman doing various jobs on the Elbe River. From 1942-1945, he was incarcerated in Auschwitz  where he worked in the coal mines for I.G.Farben Company. He was liberated May 9,1945. He was later reunited with Pearl whom he married on January 27, 1946. Their daughter Pearl was born in Mannheim, Germany.

 My father's  mother. brother and three of his sisters perished in concentration camps. One sister, Zosia, survived and eventually moved to Israel with her husband and  young daughter in 1948. My parents and I lived in Lampertine, Germany, until we emigrated to the United States in 1949. We had also planned to go to Israel instead of the US, but my aunt wrote and said that there was no place to live and not much to eat because of Israel’s War of Independence and their attempt to settle thousands of refugees. Therefore, at the last moment, my parents were able to get a Visa to Rochester, New York, through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee  which assisted refugee families who had no family living in the United States. My parents chose to settle in Rochester since there was employment here.

My father worked for several companies in Rochester, the longest being Bonds Clothing company where he worked for about 25 years.  My father passed away on June 1, 1992 after coronary bypass surgery. He was 76 years old.

Biography written by: Pearl Cytryn, Daughter

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