Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
Name: Pela Rosen Alpert (1920 – 2005)
Birth Place: Dobrzyn, Poland
Arrived in Wisconsin: Green Bay, 1949
We couldn't see
our way out.
Pela Rosen Alpert was born in Dobrzyn, Poland, on October 26, 1920. She was the youngest of seven children in a well-to-do mercantile family. In the mid 1930s, her sister and brother-in-law, Rose and Jacob Fogel, left Poland to settle in Green Bay, Wisconsin. With the outbreak of World War II, Pela fled with her family to Warsaw when she was 19. She contracted typhus while in the Warsaw Ghetto and nearly died.
After her recuperation, her father convinced her to escape from the Ghetto by crawling through a hole in a wall. She never saw her family again. Pela was eventually rounded up for forced labor at the munitions factory at Skarzysko-Kamienna. After more than two years of grueling work, she was transferred first to a labor camp at Czestochowa and then to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck, Germany. She remained at Ravensbruck until late April 1945, when the camp's inmates were rescued by the Swedish Red Cross and transported to Sweden, where she remained for four years.
In February 1949, Pela arrived in Green Bay to live with her sister and brother-in-law. Within months, she was engaged to Richard Alpert, whom she met on a blind date. They were married on February 19, 1950, exactly one year after her arrival in Green Bay. After raising two daughters, Pela worked part-time at a pharmacy. Her husband, a former grocery store owner, was a salesman for a paper company. Pela died in 2005.
Audio and Transcript Information
Below are the highlights of each tape. They do not list all topics discussed. Recordings of only one tape side are marked: (no Side 2). Documents may be printed or downloaded at no cost. See Rights and Permissions
Listen to Pela's testimony and view transcript
- Childhood in Poland
- German invasion in August 1939
- Life in and escape from the Warsaw Ghetto
- Deportation of her family members
- Forced labor at the Skarzysko-Kamienna and Czestochowa concentration camps, 1940-1943
- Transfer to the camp at Ravensbruck, Germany
- Brutality of life in the Ravensbruck concentration camp
- Liberation in 1945
- Journey through Denmark for resettlement in Sweden
- Immigration to Wisconsin in February 1949
- Marriage and early family life in Green Bay
- Childhood in Poland
- The Warsaw Ghetto and Ravensbruck concentration camp
- Marriage and children
- Reflections on life in Green Bay
- Feelings about Green Bay's small Jewish community in the 1950s and 1960s
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