Krakauer, Renate

Renate Krakauer is a child survivor from Poland.  She was born in Stanislawow, Poland just as the war began, in what was at that time the Soviet zone of occupation.  Life was relatively normal until 1941, when the Nazis broke the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact and headed east into the USSR.  Suddenly the Jews of Stanislawow were forced into a ghetto, and the horrific killings began, most notably the Black Sunday massacre, where 12 000 Jews were murdered at the hands of the SS.  Renate’s family was lucky that day, and eluded the massacre simply because there was no knock on their door.  Conditions in the ghetto were terrible, and the young Renate barely survived.  When her parents saw the writing on the wall, her mother bravely decided to hand Renate over to a Polish woman, who raised Renate as her own during the remainder of the war, when Renate’s parents, both of whom miraculously survived, came out of hiding and reunited with one another and with their daughter.  They lived out the remainder of the war in the renewed Soviet zone of occupation, deciding to head to Germany as Renate’s father did not want to live under communist rule.  They spent time at a DP camp in Eggenfelden before making their way to Canada in 1948.

Renate visited Mr. Birrell’s Grade 8 class in December 2018, where she shared her story and helped the students to understand the context of Nazi oppression and genocide.  We thank the Azrieli Foundation for facilitating this connection, and for sending us copies of Renate’s autobiography.