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ACCESSION DETAIL
Audio/visual
Atlanta, Georgia
January 11, 1996
Tapes/transcript
18 pages
Arbiser Pola OHC.JPG

Pola Bienstock Arbiser was born in Drohobycz, Poland. Her parents were Israel and Sara Bienstock. Her father was a successful furrier and they lived an upper middle class life, including owning a car. The family included a Christian Polish woman named Frania Sobkova, who had come to work for them as a nanny and quickly assumed the supervision of the entire home. When the war started, Drohobycz was bombed by the Germans, temporarily occupied, experienced a 24-hour pogrom in which hundreds of Jews were murdered, then was turned over to the Russians for the next 19 months. Life under the Russians was hard (the Bienstocks were considered capitalists who needed to be crushed), but when the Germans returned it got infinitely harder and more dangerous. Frania hid Sara, Pola and Irene in her two-room apartment, taking them in before the ghetto was liquidated. When the Russians liberated the city in August 1944 the Bienstocks emerged to find a totally changed world. Eventually Pola and her family left Poland, and although Frania - who was considered part of the family - was welcome to come with them, she elected to remain in Poland. Israel Bienstock survived the war as well in a variety of camps and rejoined his family just as they were leaving Poland for good. The Bienstocks made their way to Israel, where Pola finished her education, and met and married Sam Arbiser. The Arbisers immigrated to Atlanta in the United States where Sam continued his career as an engineer, and founded his own machine building company. (Sam, and his brother Nathan, survived the war in Siberia, but lost their entire family in Warsaw.) Pola and Sam had two children: Jack and Sherry. They are retired and Pola donates her time to speaking to school children at the Breman Museum in Atlanta. Pola nominated Frania as a Righteous Gentile and she was accepted. Pola and Sam gratefully supported Frania and her family until Frania's death in 1977 and beyond. Pola discusses her childhood, family, and life under the Russians and the Germans. She describes in detail her, her sister, and her mother's hiding with Frania during the war, their liberation, and eventual immigration to Israel and then the United States.

OHC-Pola Bienstock Arbiser

Pola Bienstock Arbiser - Oral History

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