Goldie Aranowicz Figlarz
Felicia Anchor honors her mother, Goldie Aranowicz Figlarz, who was born in Lodz, Poland, the youngest of two children. Her childhood was happy and prosperous until the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939. When Goldie was twelve, she was sent to the Lodz ghetto, where she worked and went to school. At one point, children age ten and under were taken away to be killed, but as a twelve-year-old girl, Goldie narrowly escaped deportation. But later, in August 1944, she and her parents were sent to Auschwitz during one of the last transports. She was separated from her father, and never saw him again, but she and her mother survived the initial selection. They were eventually sent to a labor camp outside of Hamburg and then to Bergen-Belsen, where they were liberated on April 15, 1945. Goldie was ill with typhoid fever, but she was nursed to health by British clergymen.
Shortly after the war, Goldie met a man named Irving Figlarz on a railroad platform near Hamburg, Germany. (Irving, also a Holocaust survivor, had been sent to a Jewish ghetto and then a series of slave labor camps during the war, including the Hassig Munitions Factory and Buchenwald.) When he met Goldie, Irving was “enthralled” by her, and in August 1946, the couple married in Bergen-Belsen. They had a child, Felicia, on September 5, 1947, while they were living at the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp. Because Irving had relatives in the United States, he was able to obtain sponsorship so that he could move to America in May 1949. The family relocated to Toledo, Ohio, where they lived and had two more children. Goldie worked as a homemaker and Irving was in the plastics business. They eventually moved to Florida, and then to Las Vegas so that they could be near one of their children. Goldie Figlarz died on October 4, 2008, and was buried in Las Vegas, Nevada. Felicia remembers her as a “dynamo” who took pride in cooking and taking care of her family. She writes, “She lost so much of her family…family was the most crucial thing in the world for her.”