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Following the Path of a Picture

  Recently, through the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum inquiry and other search engines, the Banks family from Boulder, Colorado found photos of their mother, Paula Zyto, who had been a Holocaust survivor.  The family was searching for information about her when her name appeared with reference to the photo archives of the museum.

After contacting us through the GFH website (www.gfh.org.il) where the Banks family had found a number of photos that included Paula Zyto, the GFH archival team traced the origin of the photos that included their mother among a group of women photographed by British soldiers.  The soldiers had befriended them after the war and photographed them near a hospital near Ochtrup, Gemany. 

The Banks were over-joyed and asked Archival director, Anat Bratman-Elhalel if she thought any of the women from the photo might still be alive. They were interested in having contact if possible, as their mother had recently passed away.  Bratman-Elhalel discovered important information after doing some research:


The photos were donated to the Archives by Ida Wolf – Milich in 1998.  Mrs. Wolf-Milich, a spry, active woman spoke to Bratman-Elhalel at length about her experiences.  The following information is located in the archive with the collection of photos:



Ida Wolf - Milich and Hela Landzin - Gotlieb, young Jewish Holocaust survivors in Germany



Ida Wolf – Milich and others were young Jewish Holocaust survivors in Germany.  The group of Jews to which Ida Wolf - Milich belonged were liberated from the Bergen - Belsen camp.  When the camp's survivors were evacuated, it was decided to take care of the Jews separately, the intention being to transport them in the direction of the Netherlands in trucks supplied by the Allies.  The Jews in this group were eventually taken back to Bergen - Belsen, except for this particular group who had been ill and remained in the town of Ochtrup.  They were housed in Marianheim, a building which has previously been a residence for teenaged German girls.  The sick survivors were treated by two French doctors.  Jewish soldiers from a British Army unit stationed in the area "adopted" the survivors.  The group stayed in Ochtrup a few months and then went to Gerleve and from there to Muenster, where they maintained their connection with the Jewish soldiers of the British Army.


 In the photo: Pola Rundel, Rachel Frajder, Betty Dani'el - Helfer, Paula Zyto, and Kuba (Jakob) Dani'el. Photographed in 1945.



According to Banks, the GFH archives provided the first photos on their mother after liberation, aka Paula Zyto. These photos are actually the earliest pictures they have of their mother, showing her in her youth after the war. They commented that, “she recently passed away and we are forever grateful to find this on your amazing web site.”  The GFH archival director, Anat Bratman-Elhalel was able to assist the Banks family to connect personally by telephone with Ida Wolf-Milich who relayed her memories of their mother to them.



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