We met in the most difficult times in our lives, in the Ghetto Lodz, in 1941.
These were the times of desperation, hunger, humiliation and the destruction of the Jews of Europe.
I was a teenager, thirteen years old. He was almost a grown up young man with an intellectually shaped view of the world. We both belonged to the same Antifascist Organization consisting of older and young people from Ghetto factories, trying to fight against the inhuman conditions of life imposed on us by the Nazis.
I remember Jurek as a dedicated member and activist of our youth group, a smart and humble person, always in the forefront during actions of sabotage and political protests. He was one of the staunch believers in our struggle to continue our self-education and preserving our dignity as human beings. He always put the well-being of others ahead of his self-interest. He was a role model for many of us.
In August 1944 we were deported to Auschwitz and from there to different concentration camps in Germany. We lost contact with each other. I know from friends, and from Jurek personally, that at the beginning of 1945 he was at the brink of death.
He survived and came back to Poland, as some of Holocaust survivors did. We came back to nothing, to a liberated homeland, eager to put the pieces of our shattered lives together.
Jurek succeeded, and did extremely well! He worked for a while and soon after started his studies in economics. Finished a university education and pursued a successful career as an economist. As it happened to most of us, he and his family were forced to leave Poland.
After emigrating in 1968 they found themselves in the United States. Almost at the same time we landed in Canada. We met again on a new continent, visiting each other quite often. Sometimes we spent our vacations together and after we retired from the institutions we worked for, we spent our winter retreats in Florida and Europe.
Some people were saying that Jurek did not talk a lot. True! He spoke only when he had something to say and it was always to the point. I always enjoyed meeting with him. We had quite a bit to talk about: the past, the times we live in, and the future. Very often we exchanged our views about our family life and whenever his Nina or Grazyna (Gail) were mentioned, his face lit up and we could see the happiness he was experiencing.
The last few years he was very ill. We suffered together with Nina and Grazyna, whenever his health became worse . We celebrated in our hearts the news during the times he felt better. It is difficult for us to accept the fact that Jurek, our dear friend, is no longer with us.
We miss Him very much!
Lusia and Roman.Bojmelgrin