West Hartford Archives - StoryCorps

He Survived The Holocaust Because Of A Stranger’s Kindness

In 1941, Philip Lazowski and his family were among thousands of Jewish people sent to the Zhetel Ghetto in what was then Poland.

One day, the Lazowski family caught wind that the Nazis were killing Jewish people in the ghetto and they decided to go into hiding. But Philip, just 11 years old, was caught alone by a German soldier after helping his parents and siblings take shelter in a hideout they’d built in their apartment.

Rounded up into the Zhetel marketplace, he saw the soldiers sending children and the elderly to their deaths, but noticed they seemed to be sparing families with adults who had jobs deemed valuable by the Nazis, like doctors, tailors or cobblers.

When he was 91 years old, Rabbi Philip Lazowski came to StoryCorps with his wife, Ruth, 86, to remember a quick decision that saved his life.

Rabbi Philip and Ruth Lazowski on their wedding day, in 1955. Credit: courtesy of the Lazowski family.


Top Photo: Rabbi Philip Lazowski and Ruth Lazowski. Credit: courtesy of the Lazowski family.

Originally aired January 21st, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“I Felt I Was Helping A Fellow Soldier”: A Nephew Steps In For His Ailing Uncle

Growing up, Michael Menta idolized his uncle Sal Leone, a Marine. Michael would eventually follow in Sal’s footsteps, enlisting in the Navy his senior year of high school.

But in 2019, Michael found himself in a new role: caring for his uncle Sal at his bedside after he had fallen gravely ill from cancer.

They sat down together for StoryCorps.

Top photo: Michael Menta and Sal Leone at their StoryCorps interview in West Hartford, CT on October 26, 2019. By Camila Kerwin for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: A young Sal Leone in dress blues during U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Training. Photo courtesy of Sal Leone.

Originally aired November 9, 2019 on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.