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Survivor Profiles: Barney Sidler

When we were liberated, and the American forces came into camp, they were so overwhelmed with what they saw. There was not one soldier who did not cry.

Barney Sidler

His Story:

Barney was born in 1933 in Demblin, Poland. He was 6 years old when the Nazis occupied Poland. In 1940, an area of Demblin was converted into an “open ghetto.” Those with money could leave the ghetto, but had to be back by a specified time. Barney and his family lived in a three-room apartment with 10 other people. He was assigned to kitchen duty, primarily sorting potatoes, and would wear two pairs of pants so that he could sneak some home for his mother to add to their meager meals.

In 1941, the Nazis liquated the ghetto and Barney was transferred to a forced labor camp on the outskirts of town. He remained in the camp until 1944, when he was 11 years old, and was then deported to the Warta concentration camp, a sub-camp of Czestochowa. A little over one year later, Barney was deported to Buchenwald and remained there until he was liberated. He was able to survive partly because of his friendship with a German doctor who was a political prisoner. The doctor took a liking to Barney, who reminded him of his son. The doctor saved Barney’s life numerous times by hiding him in a laundry basket.

Barney was one of the youngest children liberated from Buchenwald. In 1949, with the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Barney immigrated to Chicago. He began his career in 1965 as an insurance agent and split his time between Illinois and Florida later in life.

Learn More:

Proclaiming Justice podcast episode Daily Herald article USHMM Testimony

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