My Involuntary Journeys
In My Involuntary Journeys, Hanna Temkin shares her story for the first time, shedding light on lesser-known aspects of Jewish life and survival in Eastern Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust. Moreover, Hanna’s story is an inspiring tale of female empowerment and serves as a testament to her ability to overcome the worst odds.
Father seemed strangely agitated sending me off. “Go,” he said, “Hanele, go, it’s time!” He urged me as if he were glad to see me go; as
if he knew somehow that he was sending me off to live.
The brutal reality of war became part of Hanna Rabinowicz’s life shortly after she turned eighteen. Within days, German troops had conquered her hometown of Lodz, and the situation of the local Jewish community deteriorated quickly. Hanna and her future husband, Gabriel Temkin, made the difficult decision to head East and flee into the Soviet occupation zone, which ultimately saved their lives. During the next six years, Hanna lived, worked, and eventually studied in the Soviet Union, while Gabriel served in the Red Army.
A year after the war, Hanna and Gabriel married and moved back to Poland. Most of their family members had been murdered or had succumbed to the brutal conditions under Nazi rule. Nevertheless, unlike other returnees, they opted to stay in Poland, where they adapted to the political conditions and started a family. Initially, their careers flourished. Two decades later, however, facing growing antisemitism, Hanna and Gabriel saw no other choice but to leave Poland again. Already in their late forties, they had to rebuild their lives once more, this time in the United States.