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Holocaust Survivor Oral Histories

From 2003 through 2013, Professor Uta Larkey from Goucher College (Baltimore, MD) conducted a class that required students to interview Baltimore-area Holocaust survivors.

INTERVIEW 1: Life Before World War II

INTERVIEW 2: Experiences During the War Years

INTERVIEW 3: Liberation and the Aftermath


Bluma Errankrantz Shapiro was born in Bialystok, Poland on August 28th, 1923. She grew up with her parents, Sarah and Baruch, and had three older brothers and one older sister.


Germany invaded Poland in 1939, and by 1941, Bluma and her family were forced to live in the Bialystok Ghetto. In 1942, the Nazis stopped allowing Jewish residents of the ghetto to leave. In February 1943, the first Aktion took place and Bluma went into hiding with her family. On August 23rd of that year, Bluma joined her boyfriend’s family in their bunker, which was better fitted. A few weeks later Bluma was taken by the Nazis and sent to Majdanek concentration camp and Bliżyn concentration camp in Poland. In February of 1944, Bliżyn was liquidated and Bluma was sent to Auschwitz. In January of 1945 when the process of liquidating Auschwitz began, Bluma was forced by the Nazis on the “Death March,” and walked through places like Gross-Raven, Ravensbrück, and Malchow. During the march, Bluma and the other prisoners where liberated.


Bluma  returned to Bialystok to look for surviving family members, and she didn’t find any alive. In Bialystock she met Philip Shapiro, who she married in 1946. After the wedding, Bluma and her husband moved to a displaced persons camp in Wels, Austria. In 1949, Bluma, her husband, her sister-in-law, and her brother-in-law traveled to New York and moved to Lakewood, New Jersey and worked on a farm. Eventually they moved to Baltimore and in 1950, Bluma and her husband bought a Kosher grocery store. Later that year, their son was born. In 1957, Bluma and her husband sold their store, moved to Pikesville, MD, and Bluma began working for the Jewish Family Service. In the 1960s, Bluma began to tell her Holocaust stories in public.

Bluma passed away on March 10, 2021 at the age of 97.

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