Miriam Jacks Kivel

my great-grandma

The Life of Miriam Kivel during the Holocaust

My great was born on June 28, 1918 in a small town near the German border. During her childhood, her family was pretty poor. Her father was a roof layer & also repaired houses. Her mother was educated in Yiddish and Hebrew so she would write letters for her friends and strangers. My great-grandma had a pretty happy life and did a few sports including gymnastics, ballet, and dance. When she got a little older she decided she wanted to Handelschule, a school in Germany. While she waited to get accepted she met my great-grandpa, Max Kivel. They got married May 17, 1938 and the next year my grandpa was born on April 21st. Their happy life didn't last for very long because Russians invaded her city in search for Jews. While her husband, Max, was in the hospital due to an appendix operation, the Nazis bombed their house. Miriam fled with my grandpa to her in-laws house before it hit the house destroying every bit of it. Her husband was in another city so she decided to get to him. She dressed like a peasant and nobody recognized her as a jew and got safely to her destination with her baby. My great-grandparents got captured but they left their child with a christian family. My great grandparents stayed in their friends house for a while but the Nazis took them all to a ghetto and had them stay in shacks with four families in one room. One day the Nazis came and yelled for everyone to get out and Miriam stayed behind with her son and hid under their bed. Nazis kicked under the bed thinking no one was under the bed and they left them there. She hid for three weeks and her husband found his was back to her. They decided to give their baby to their christian friends who would keep him safe if the Nazis took them. The family kept their child for more than three years while they were at concentration camps. The Nazis soon captured them and stacked them in trains with out food and water for many days. She said there was 500 of them to start and by the time they got there, there was only 100. One day her and her friend decided to run away, after running for a long time they stopped and laid in a hole knowing they were going to find them. They did find them and brought them back to the camp and beat them with a leather strap to show they should never do that again. Awhile later they brought everyone into the woods and started shooting at them, Miriam somehow got away and ran into the woods. She got locked in a shed by a German and then once again, got away and hid in a barn. Russians found her again but they actually treated her pretty well. After the war the Russians let her free and she went off to find her son. She found him and after six months her husband came looking for him too and thats when they got reunited.

Where Did She Fit in History?

As you probably know, during her lifetime she had to live through the Holocaust. She lived through the start and lived through the end.

She was born in June, 1918 just a few months before World War 1 ended in November of 1918.

Miriam Kivel's Life and Death

My great-grandma lived to the age of 86, and died on my third birthday, March 19, 2004. She died from lung cancer in my mom's aunts house under hospice care in Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately, in May of 1971, her son David, my grandpa, passed away also from cancer.

Knowing what she had gone through throughout her life makes me realize how lucky i am to live in this time. It also makes me think about what would have happened if she had died. Would my grandpa have never met my grandma which would mean i would not have existed? Because of my great-grandmas strength and bravery, i am here today making this presentation.

A Brief Introduction to the Holocaust & World War II

By:Morgan Lewis