Tennenbaum was born on March 11, 1931, the son of Jozef and Fanny
Tennenbaum. The family led a happy life in Lvov, Poland, where his father
owned a fruit import/export business.
The Tennenbaum family's feelings of security collapsed, however, following the
Nazi occupation of Lvov in
the summer of 1941. In August 1942 the family was herded into the Kleparow ghetto
on the outskirts of Lvov. A few months later eleven-year-old David and his
mother escaped from the ghetto.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
tells how a Ukrainian professor - a family friend - assisted in their escape and found them a temporary hiding place at the home of
an ethnic German in Lvov. Ironically, the son of the professor was a member of
the Ukrainian SS then serving on the eastern front. The professor secured false
papers for David and his mother and found them a long term hiding place in
December 1942 in the village of Zimna Woda.
They were taken in by an elderly,
retired, schoolteacher named Mrs. Sokolinska. The timing of their move to Zimna
Woda was very fortunate - shortly after they left their first hiding place
it was raided and those living there were arrested.
Fanny hid under name of
Franciszka Maria Wieczorkowska, while David, who had grown his hair long, passed
as her daughter, Teresa Marja Wieczorkowska. He also pretended to be retarded so
as to avoid having to take the required physical examination to attend school.
passed his time playing by himself and reading among the many books in the house.
In September 1944
David and his
mother were liberated by the Soviet army. His father had disappeared -
presumably he was deported to the Janowska KZ camp and murdered.