|Powder compact owned by Jacob Stopnicki|
The extraordinary story began with Tina's maternal grandparents, Jacob and Tanya Stopnicki, who were incarcerated in the Lodz ghetto. In 1941, Jacob gave Tanya the powder compact as a gift, for which he traded for his daily ration of bread. Against all odds, Jacob was also able to save Tanya and their infant daughter Krysia by hiding them in a bunker in the ghetto until the end of the war. Krysia was one of the few children who were born in the Lodz ghetto and miraculously survived. Sadly, Tanya passed away a year after the ghetto was liberated.
|Jacob and daughter Krysia|
|Michael Tal, Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection showing Tina |
Rosenstein hergrandfather's powder
compact as it is displayed in the museum
The researchers worked tirelessly to try to find more information about the owners of the compact and their family members. To complicate matters further, they discovered various documents in several archives pertaining to no less than three people named Jacob Stopnicki in the Lodz ghetto. After much cross-referencing and examination, they found several photographs of Jacob and Tanya Stopnicki taken by another Lodz ghetto photographer, Henryk Ross, during the war. Much to their amazement, they also found living descendants of the couple living in Canada – their granddaughter, Tina and Krysia.
|Michael Tal presenting Tina Rosenstein and|
her children witha photo he discovered of
her grandfather Jacob before the War
Before entering the museum, an emotional Tina face-timed with her mother, Krysia, who lives in Florida, and wished she could have made the journey to see the compact. "I was truly overwhelmed with emotion holding my grandfather's powder compact for the first time. I will always remember my grandfather as a generous and loving man," she said. "Holding the compact, I tried to imagine what he felt like giving such a beautiful present to his wife under such horrific conditions."
Tina continued, "I still can't believe the personal connection I now have with Yad Vashem - part of our family's history is literally on display to share with the millions of visitors that come here every year. I told my teenage boys that I hope that when they grow up they bring their children to see the powder compact displayed in the Lodz ghetto exhibit and that they never forget their personal connection to Yad Vashem."