Pawel’s Story: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Pawel (in front) aboard a ship bringing refugee children from Germany to the U.S., 1946.

Pawel (in front) aboard a ship bringing refugee children from Germany to the U.S., 1946.

Pawel arrived in America on May 20, 1946. In this new country, Pawel changed his name to the more American pronunciation, Paul. He was placed with a Jewish family in a foster home in New York. He was friendly, but could not feel close to his hosts like a member of the family. Though he was not yet even 16, Paul related to the members of his foster family as one adult might relate to another. His experiences had made him an independent man, and he desperately wanted to advance himself as an individual in this new, free society. He enrolled in high school immediately and took as many courses as he could.

Paul’s high school diploma, January 1949.

Paul’s high school diploma, January 1949.

One day out of the blue, Paul was astonished to receive a wonderful letter and photograph from one of his father’s brothers. He had survived the war in the Soviet Union and was coming to the United States with his wife and son! Somehow, Uncle Henry had found out that Paul was living in America and was eager for them to reunite. When Henry and his family arrived, Paul moved in with them. Later, Paul also found out that another of his father’s brothers had survived, and was living in Israel. These two brothers were the only ones to survive among the 12 siblings. Paul visited Israel and became close with both of these uncles, in addition to his two surviving cousins.

Paul continued with his schooling, finishing high school and then City College of New York. He then went on to law school at New York University, received his law degree in 1956. He often tried to help his fellow survivors with legal issues related to the war. He married an American-born woman from Brooklyn in 1959 with whom he had two children.

Testimony: “Learning From History”

“There have been any number of terrible things that have happened since the Holocaust.”

—Pawel Hodys

Paul (left), his wife, their children, and their rabbi, at his daughter’s bat mitzvah.

Paul (left), his wife, their children, and their rabbi, at his daughter’s bat mitzvah.

Chapter 5



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