Regina Nisenbaum correspondence with Max Hartstone


Regina Nisenbaum correspondence with Max Hartstone of the United Ostrovtzer Aid Committee in Toronto


Background on Regina Nisenbaum

 Regina was daughter of Moshe and Sprinca Nisenbaum from Ostrowiec. Her father's brothers already left Poland before the Holocaust.


Regina's siblings were, BroniaRaphael and Nesia. During the liquidation of the Ostrowiec Ghetto her parents went into hiding with their children. Shortly thereafter, they were all caught, and Moshe was shot dead on the spot.

Miraculously, her mother and siblings survived the Holocaust and were liberated in 1945.

After several years in Israel, Regina moved to S. Africa and then Sprinca, Bronia and Nesia moved to Toronto. Raphael moved to Toronto after years in Belgium and USA.


 Document # 1 -  June 14, 1946

From:   S. Rapoport or Jewish Immigrants Aid Society  to M Sherman ( 505 Spadina Road,Toronto)

Summary: Request to locate relatives of Holocaust survivor child Regina Nisenbaum

Source:  Edited from Ontario Jewish Archives, F148_s2-10_f1_translation

Dear friend Sherman,

We received a letter from a child, a girl by the name of Regina Nisenbaum, who is now located in a children’s home in Bielsko, … Poland. She writes to us that she comes from Ostrowiec, before the war lived at Koscielna  no 24 [in Ostrowiec, Poland]. She is looking for her uncles Max Fox, Kalman Nisenbaum, and Aron Nisenbaum, the last two are her aunt’s brothers. Since we have not found the aforementioned people until now, we are turning to you, perhaps through the landsleyt of your association you can find out something about the sought-after persons. We are sure that you will spare no effort to help a lonely child.

Please let us know if you will find anything.

With greetings,

S. Rapoport





Document # 2  July 29, 1946

From Regina Nisenbaum to Max Hartstone

Summary: Regina Nisenbaum, while in Bielsko orphanage after the war with her siblings and mother,  thanks Max Hartstone for providing addresses of her uncles in USA. She shares some of her Holocaust experience.

Source:  Edited from Ontario Jewish Archives, F148_s1_f140_translation

To: United Ostrovtzer Aid Committee, M. Hartstone, sec.477 Dovercourt Rd.Toronto, Canada

From:Regina Nisenbaum

Bielsko, Slask, Ul. Mickiewicza 22. Dom. Dziecka.


B’’H Bielsko 29/VII

Dear and sweet Mr. Hartstone!

We received your dear letter with the addresses of my dear uncles. The joy for us is indescribable we … cried with joy that we found them thanks to your help. You my dear can understand us a lot so much pain and suffering we experienced at fascist hands for us it is a great happiness that we have family and your valuable help committee.

But dear Mr. Hartstone, the air is hot for us again. The house is [[falling?]]in the streets. For this is our aspiration to quickly to see our family. Dear Mr. Hartstone you inquire how we saved ourselves from murderous hands, it is a lot to describe but I am writing it out in short.

I Rivke Nisenbaum and my family were tortured in ghettos from the beginning of the war in 1939 and suffered hunger until 1943. In this time the misfortune for us became so great… the murderers shot our good father to death in our presence and confronted with the terrible scene before our eyes. Our hearts were so broken with pain that a G-d knows the truth.

… But life went on and trouble went on in concentration camps after Auschwitz where they tormented many people and burnt in the crematoria that Jewish innocence had commenced. Death stood there every minute in front of our eyes but with a time they sent us away to work. There we worked in a munitions factory 15 hours until late at night. There the SS Nazi women …many of us fell from hunger and hardship. In 1945 before the liberation by the Red Army, the Germans hunted us at night in the woods where many were killed and I with my sister survived by chance.

Thanks to the liberation by the Red Army when we were freed we walked on foot for many hundreds of kilometers when we arrived in the city we were so worn out from the torture that we couldn’t stand on our feet at that time. I weighed 38 kilos *at 16 years old* but thank G-d today, I have found my dear mother who also survived a lot… we are all healthy… the wish from you to hear our only aspiration is that we should get out of hell and the sun would brighten up a little bit for us.

Dear Mr. Hartstone, I have so much to write that I forgot to thank you for the dear letter…,but my thanks is not written here on paper but it remains deep in my heart.

G-d should help that we could personally express our thanks. I end my letter with a hope to meet you soon.

We greet you all from the bottom of our hearts.

Rivke Nisenbaum

[PS-] My dear mother sends especially warm greetings.



Document # 3  Year 1947, date unknown

 From Regina Nisenbaum to Max Hartstone

Summary: Regina Nisenbaum is now in Antwerp, shares her Holocaust experience and consults with Max on what her next steps should be including  asking for help to possibly join family in USA

Source:  Edited from Ontario Jewish Archives, F148_s1_f141_translation


Dear Mr. Hartstone!

I,  Rivke Nisenbaum from Ostrowiec am now writing this letter to you from Antwerp. I und erstand quite well that this will surprise you a bit from where I came to Antwerp from Bielsko… but dear Mr. Hartstone, it was really difficult for me to separate from my loving mother and little sisters… but now I am with my dear little brother who I have not seen in so many years of pain and suffering… he is 15 years old and is in a home for children up to 16 years old.

He goes to school he is the best pupil there. He was also in Auschwitz in various situations as was … captured as a child by  the German murderers… and he also ran away many times in this time when they led the children into the gas chamber to annihilate them. And really by coincidence he remained alive. When we will have time we will write out the tortures that we went through during the time of the war. Now you can imagine dear Mr. Hartstone our joy when we met after so many years. Really it is difficult to write down the joy that I feel in my heart.

But Mr. Hartstone, please advise me what I should do here in Antwerp. I am in a house like my little brother. They have permitted me to be here for two weeks I cannot stay in the house because I am 18 years old. It is possible that I should get work tailoring because I can sew a bit. But the first question is how to be? And how to eat? And also to be legalized, because I have no documents. Really I am now in a very difficult situation we feel very well how we are missing our dear father at every step. I wrote about this to our family in America, we would to be together with them somewhat faster maybe there, there will be a corner that we should be able to rest a bit and study further and also think about the future.

You dear Mr. Hartstone of course understand everything as a father. Therefore I will allow myself to write out a request, if possible it would help us out to be with our family somewhat faster because really I understand quite well, that you will have a lot of difficulties, but still maybe this is possible to make a reality. Oh how happy we would be dear Mr. Hartstone!

I end my writing and hope to receive a prompt reply. We send sincerely greetings and wishes for the best of health.

Rivke (Regina) and Raphael Nisenbaum

The address of me and my little brother:

66 Generaal Drubbelstraat Berchen Antwerpen Belgium

Edited by Avi Borenstein, nephew of Regina Nisenbaum













regina 1946
Source Ontario Jewish Archives
Source Ontario Jewish Archives
Source Ontario Jewish Archives
Source Ontario Jewish Archives