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Regina Zielinski

Photographer: Meg Hansen

Regina emigrated to Australia with her family in 1949, making her life in Sydney and Adelaide and regularly speaking to school students about her wartime experiences.

Born Riwka Feldman in 1925 in the Polish town of Siedliszcze, Regina left school because she was Jewish following Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Slave labourers and forced to move into the local Jewish ghetto, she and her family were deported to Sobibor death camp in 1942.  Here 17-year-old Regina was spared the gas chambers, knitting socks for German soldiers, but she never saw her parents, brother, or sister again. Regina escaped during the 1943 Sobibor uprising and survived the war with false identity papers, working for a German family, living ‘in plain sight’ as a Catholic Polish woman.

Regina died in 2014, shortly after being presented with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for her bravery and heroism during the Sobibor uprising and for outstanding merit in activities for the remembrance and popularisation of the knowledge of the Holocaust.

The Adelaide Holocaust Museum and Andrew Steiner Education Centre acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation, past, present and future, and the continuation of cultural, spiritual, and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. AHMSEC stands on Kaurna land.

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