University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
chgs@umn.edu
612-624-0256


CHGS

Lucy Smith

“I am still in hiding, in a way-It took me a lot of time to learn to be open, to talk."

Lucy Smith was born on June 15, 1933 in Kraców, Poland. She was six years old when the Germans army occupied Poland and survived the war as a Hidden child.

Lucy Smith is a Holocaust survivor. Like Anne Frank she was a hidden child. Unlike Anne Frank she lived to experience the stages of life following childhood and adolescence. Anne Frank could only imagine life which she was not allowed to live. For the readers of her diary she remains forever the sensitive and mature adolescent. It is difficult to realize that she would have been today an elderly woman-older than Lucy Smith.

The Hidden children of the Holocaust, who survived it, did grow into adulthood but were still forced to keep their childhood memories hidden for fifty years. People didn't think that hidden children could truly remember the details of their childhood, and they were not interested in hidden children stories. Besides, compared to the stories of survivors of the death camps, those stories seemed to be less dramatic. Only recently an interest in their stories emerged-- probably out of the realization that those former children are approaching old age and soon will not be around to tell their stories.

Lucy Smith was born in Kraców, Poland. She had to leave school after one month of attendance because education was no longer allowed for Jewish children. After many other indignities she was put in the ghetto where she was hiding together with her mother from the Nazi's "actions". These were intensified periods of searches for Jews - mainly children and elderly, to deport them to death camps.

Lucy and her mother were lucky, they both survived. They changed their hiding places, they moved to different towns. 'They went through different aspects of hiding; the physical places of hiding, like attics, cellars, stores, bathrooms, and the psychological hiding; changed identities, pretending to be someone else, pretending to be Christian, while still holding to forbidden memories of former selves.

To a child of the Holocaust like Lucy, the seemingly "normal" daily life was full of fear and constant tensions, of the small daily miracles of survival of many dangers. To know, but not to tell, was the daily heroism of life that only the survival itself rewarded, because no one else ever noticed neither the heroism of it nor the heavy price in psychological energy that this way of life demanded.

Lucy Smith's testimony is available at the University of Minnesota through the Visual History Archive developed by the USC Shoah Foundation institute for Visual History and Education (Also known as the Shoah Project). Visit the Visual History Archive website for more information.

Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust, USHMM Exhibition.

Articles/Audio

Two survivors tell their stories on Holocaust Remembrance Day: Minnesota Public Radio 4-21-2009

Photos/Documents

lucy with flowers

Lucy Smith giving talk and workshop in Twin Cities School. Lucy is a community resource for Holocaust Education

lucy thank you
lucy 1959

Photo of Lucy Kreisler Smith after leaving Poland, 1959.

kreisler family 1936

Kreisler family. Lucy is on bottom right. Taken in Goczalkowicze, Poland, 1936. From left to right: cousins and family. Two cousins on left survived Holocaust and now live in Israel: Chava and Joseph Sroka.

ducument
birth certificate

The birth certificate was used by Lucy Kreisler (Smith) during Nazi occupation of Poland and helped save her life.  It was bought by her father, Henryk Kreisler.

baptismal certificate

Baptism Certificate from city of Lwow issued by St. Martin Church reported birth of Teresia Wanda Falkiewicz born 13 December 1933, baptised 24 January 1934, parents: Joseph Falkiewicz son of Casimir and Maria Krawczyk and Helena Maria Gross daughter of Adam and Helena Kowalska God parents: Lachowicz Andreas and Lachowicz Helena.  Issued in Lwow 2 September, 1942 by Edmund (last name of signature illisible).

document
lucy
lucy 1947

Lucy Kreisler after the war with her mother, Mina Kreisler in Duszniki Spa, 1947.

This page was created with permission by Lucy Smith