Oskar Tojzner


Oskar Tojzner grew up in Dąbrowica, a Polish town close to the border with the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Father Moshe worked in a factory and mother Sonia was a housewife. Oskar had a number of siblings: brothers Beitzalel and Aba, and younger sisters Jochewed and Chawa.


Oskar Tojzner’s life changed when the war broke out on 1 September 1939. The Red Army took over Dabrowica and the atmosphere in school wasn't as it used to be.

The threat from Nazi Germany was constantly present and Oskar and his brothers started planning to escape eastward.


Oskar Tojzner and his brother Aba escaped the Nazis and went eastward to Soviet-controlled areas. They found work at a state farm and later Oskar was called in to the army and ended up at a military facility in the Ural Mountains.

Back home in Dabrowica the Germans took over the area. Shortly afterwards the mass killings of Jews began.


When the Red Army had pushed back the German troops and taken over Oskar's home town, he wrote a letter back home. At first there was no reply but eventually the civil service replied to Oskar that his family had been exterminated.

In 1945 Oskar went back to Dabrowica. From the partisans who had been hiding close to the town he found out the horrific truth about what had happened.


After the end of war Oskar married Nina and settled down in Sarny. They had a daughter called Sonia and Oskar set up a small business in town. Suddenly one day the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police) came to the office making accusations.

Oskar was taken to prison and then transported to the Gulag camps of Kolyma in northeastern Siberia. Three years later, in 1953, he was released.

In 1955 Oskar and Nina's son Michael was born. The family wanted to move to Poland but their application for permission to leave the Soviet Union was rejected.

Oskar and his family finally reached Poland in 1959. Ten years later, in 1969, antisemitism in Poland was on the rise again and Oskar and Nina decided to emigrate to Sweden.