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Atlanta, Georgia
Unknown (1980s)
VHS Tape

Dora (Dorothy) Gutman Storch was born in Lodz, Poland in either 1922 or 1924. Her father was Anton Gutman and her mother Shayla. She had two sisters (Miriam and Rochel) and one younger brother. The family was comfortable and was religious but not Orthodox. Dora attended a Jewish girls' school. The Germans occupied Lodz on September 8, 1939 and immediately burned down the synagogue and later, in the ghetto, they forced the inhabitants to watch hangings regularly. When the Germans began to confiscate the possessions of the Jews, her father built a fake wall and they hid their valuables inside. The Gestapo arrested him, beat him badly and brought him back home where he showed them the secret hiding place. Later, he was arrested again and her mother just gave up. During Passover in April 1940 her mother laid down saying she didn’t feel well. Suddenly she sat up and then fell over and died. The family had to move into the ghetto where they shared an apartment with several other families. Dora got a job registering ration cards for meat and so was able to bring home meat and coffee grinds to her family. Her brother died in the ghetto hospital. At one point, when the deportation of children began in September 1942 they were rousted out of their home and driven into the street. Her sister, Rochel, hid her 6-year-old son under a pile of clothing and when the Gutman family was allowed to return to their apartment, he was still with them. When the ghetto was liquidated in July and August 1944, Dora and her family went into hiding but they were discovered and put on one of the final transports to Auschwitz-Birkenau. On the ramp, Dora and Miriam were put in the line to be saved for work. Rochel could also have gone in their line but she refused to be separated from her 6-year-old son and she went with him to the gas chambers. Dora’s father was separated from all the women and she never saw him again. In Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dora and Miriam were registered, showered, shaved and given mismatched clothing. At some point, Dora and Miriam were selected for a transport to Bergen-Belsen where they languished for about three weeks before being sent on to work in a munitions plant in Torgau near Leipzig, Germany. The plant was surrounded by an electric barbed wire fence and several wooden barracks. Dora recalls that every night at least one woman threw herself on the electric fence and ended her suffering. Dora fantasized about throwing herself on the fence too, but she just couldn’t do it. (“Such a beautiful death, just go to the wires, touch them . . .”) She credits her survival to her sister, who refused to let her give up. Dora and Miriam were evacuated by train from Torgau. When the train was bombed by the Allies, they fled into the countryside where they hid until they were sure the area was liberated. As soon as possible, Dora and Miriam returned to Lodz to try to find their family, but they had all perished. Dora met and married Marty Storch, a survivor from Ozorkow, in 1945 and they moved to the American zone in Germany and then immigrated to the United States. Dora and Marty had four children. Dora died in 2009. Dora discusses her family life, the arrival of the Germans in Lodz and the persecution of the Jews, the establishment of the ghetto, her deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau and transfer to Torgau, the slave labor conditions, her liberation and subsequent travels until her arrival in the United States. She and Marty had four children. Dora died in 2009.

OHC-Dora (Dorothy) Gutman Storch

Dora (Dorothy) Gutman Storch (1922/1924 - 2009) - Oral History

26 Related Subjects

Storch, Dora (Dorothy) Gutman, ca. 1923-2009

Storch, Marty (1924 - 2007)

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Poland - Soviet Occupation (1939-1941)

Łódź (Poland)

Ghettos: Poland
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Kosher Food
Jews - Dietary Laws

Jews--Dietary Laws


Jews - Persecution

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Smuggling

Auschwitz-Birkenau (Concentration Camps: Poland)
World War, 1939-1945; Concentration Camps: Poland

World War, 1939-1945

Concentration Camps: Poland
World War, 1939-1945

Bergen-Belsen (Concentration Camps: Germany)
World War, 1939-1945; Concentration Camps: Germany

Concentration Camps: Germany
World War, 1939-1945

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Deportations

World War, 1939-1945

Torgau (Slave Labor Camps: Germany)
Slave Labor Camps: Germany; World War, 1939-1945; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

Slave Labor Camps: Germany
World War, 1939-1945

World War, 1939-1945 - Concentration Camps: Country

Aerial Operations--Bombardment
World War, 1939-1945

Frankfurt am Main (Germany)


Bamberg (Germany)

Ozorkow, Poland

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