Gift of Aviva F. Blumberg
Id no. 2002.A.2, Document, Norwegian
Awiwa [Aviva] Finkelstejn sailed on the Norse American Ship Line from Oslo to New York in 1945 to reunite with her father, Chaim Finkelstejn, the only other surviving member of her immediate family. Awiwa had been born in Warsaw, Poland in 1931. Chaim Finkelstejn was in Switzerland attending The World Zionist Congress when the war started in 1939, was unable to return to Poland, and ended up in USA in 1940. He immediately began to try to get visas for his family to join him. With the invasion of Poland, however, Awiwa was eventually sent to the Warsaw Ghetto with her older sister Esther, and her mother, Rivka. Before the ghetto was sealed, Rivka was able to pass into the “Aryan” side of Warsaw occasionally, where she made contact with a non-Jewish shopkeeper by the name of Marja Rychowiecka. Upon Rivka’s request, the shopkeeper agreed to hide Awiwa in her home. Thus, Awiwa survived the years of the war, while her mother and sister were killed. After the war, Awiwa found an old family friend in Warsaw who contacted her father and helped her prepare for her journey to meet him. After receiving temporary care in a children’s home in Otwock, Poland, Awiwa finally set out for her journey to the U.S. in November 1945. She traveled to Sweden and Norway, then sailed from Oslo to New York, where she reunited with her father.