Max and Lisa Katzowicz




Lisa (Leah, Liza) Sayevich (Sajewitz) was born in a small shack in Svir, Poland in 1923.
Her father Hillel made and repaired leather equipment for horses. Her mother Michla worked as a maid. She had a younger brother Itzhak (Irving Simon). She loved school and learning, and was a voracious reader. As a teenager, together with other town youth, she joined a youth group with Communist affiliations.

When the war started, and the German occupation was near, she was afraid that because of her youth group activities, her family would suffer. She left home, and, together with hundreds of refugees, started a long walk deep into Russia. From time to time she would join a family and continue with them until they were killed by the frequent bombings, or went in a different direction.

The journey was long and terrifying. After several months of walking, she ended up deep in Russia working in a munitions factory. The hours were long and grueling, and she was lonely because she could not share her background with anyone.  Her pay was a room in someone's house and meager rations of black bread and soup. She did not know it, but her parents and brother ended up in Auschwitz. Her parents died, but her brother survived, and they were reunited in 1961, when she came to Rochester. (See also Irving Simon.)

Eventually, the war ended, and Lisa ended up in Postawy, which became part of Russia, where she met and married Max (Mordechai, Motl) Katzowicz. Born in 1917, in Vilna, he was the first born son of
Moshe and Basia. He had five siblings: Rachmiel, Rachel, Sima(?) and Mera. Before the war, the family had come back to Postawy, where Moshe was a merchant, buying and selling cattle. Max had to leave school at age 13, and help his father feed the family.

In 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland, the country was divided between Germany and its then ally Russia. Russia occupied Postawy, and Max was drafted into the Red Army.  He served in the artillery regiment until June 1941 when Germany proceeded to invade its former ally Russia. Max now fought the Nazis until he was wounded. As a result the Russians evacuated him to Uzbekistan, where he remained until the war ended. He returned to Postawy, only to find that his father, who had become a partisan, was the only other survivor from his family.

In 1945 Max married Lisa, and they had two daughters Mickey (Kinel) and Betty (Isaac). The family lived with Max's father Moshe, Moshe's second wife Tzipa, and their newborn son Menachem in Russia, first in Postawy and then in Vilna. When Lisa found out that her brother Irving had survived, they decided to join him in the United States. In 1957 they escaped to Poland but because of the strict quota system, they remained in Poland for two years, living first in Warsaw, and then in Lodz, waiting to enter either Israel or the US. The Israeli papers came through first, and they settled in Israel for two years where their son Hillel was born.They arrived in the US in 1961and Lisa was finally reunited with her brother, Irving.

In Rochester Max delivered furniture and did odd jobs, until he was able to gain employment  as a butcher and eventually as manager of the meat department of Star Market. Lisa worked as a kitchen helper at the Hillel School, and then in a stockroom at B.Forman Co., eventually becoming a sales clerk in the Men's Department.  They bought a house, educated their children, and made a good life.

Lisa died in 1981 at age 57, but  had the pleasure to  know her five grandchildren, Daniel and Karen Kinel and Rachel, Jonathan, and Adam Isaac.  Max died in 2008  at age 91, and enjoyed both his grandchildren and great grandchildren Oren and Gil Poleshuck Kinel.

Biography written by:  Mikey Kinel, Daughter

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