Nożyk Synagogue

Prior to World War II, the Jewish community of Warsaw had over 400 houses of prayer; after the war, only one remained. Close to their headquarters in the Hotel Bristol, the Gestapo spared Nożyk Synagogue from destruction and put the sanctuary into use as the stable for their horses. 
Part of a minyan in July, 1993, I sat in the last pew waiting for the sounds of the men gathered around me to drown out the sound of the shutter. In this photo from Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my mother—visible on the left—had climbed the stairs to the second floor, the tradtitional way of separating men and women in Orthodox Judaism. 

Hotel Bristol

The Hotel Bristol, an opulent architectural blend of Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance design, opened in Warsaw in 1901. Chosen as the headquarters for the Gestapo while the rest of central Warsaw was reduced to rubble, the imposing structure was spared from destruction. This photo of Pawel Owczarek, a hotel bellman, is one of nearly forty from Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my upcoming book about my parents’ life as Holocaust survivors navigating the challenges of the American immigration system.

Warsaw Ghetto

In April 1943—after more than a quarter of a million Jews had been deported from the Warsaw ghetto and sent to Treblinka in the summer of 1942—the remaining Jews began to build bunkers and smuggle weapons and explosives into the ghetto. They refused to surrender, and by May 16 the entire ghetto had been burned with more than 13,000 dead from suffocation or from being burned alive. 
In 1993, almost fifty years to the date, I photographed these elderly men relaxing and chatting on the very site of the ghetto. This image and more are from Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my book that tells my parents’ Holocaust love story.