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David and Renia Kohn

Sosnowiecz, Poland


David and Renia were the children of Bronka Broder of Bendin and Mayer Kohn of Sosnowiecz, a neighboring city in south-central Poland. The Kohn family owned a respected textile store on the main street of Sosnowiecz. Though her family lived in another town, both because of the proximity and because of the love they sahred, both families saw each other very often.

As people who knew her often commented, Bronka was never without a smile or without a book. She worked in the store alongside her husband, Mayer, just as her mother-in-law, Dina Kohn, worked alongside her husband, Nachun. When Mayer married, his parents bought him his own textile store as a present, located further down on the same main street.

The children were well-indulged and well-cared for. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, governesses spent much time with the two, and there are many happy photos of the children playing, riding bikes, walking, and being hugged.

When the Nazis came to power, not only were many worlds shattered, but this family in particular suffered a terrible blow very early in the war when the Nazis used the children’s father, Mayer, and grandfather, Nachun, as an example. Five thousand people were forced to watch the punishment being exacted. To this day, some still say, “A day does not go by when I do not remember Nachun Kohn and his son.” In astonishment, to one I asked “Why this event in particular?” The answer: “Because he was such a good man and it was so early in the war. I saw a lot of other terrible things later, but nothing affected me like seeing Nachun Kohn and his son killed. Why? Because I am a religious Jew and I pray several times a day. Every day I say the Shema in the synagogue, I see Nachun Kohn’s face as I say this prayer. His last words were this same prayer, affirming the oneness of the Almighty.”