Perel, Renia (1930 – 2017)

Also known as: Renia Sperber
BiographyRenia Sperber was born on December 2, 1930, in Malnow, Poland (Malinovka, Ukraine), to George (Getzel) and Freda Keltz Sperber. Georg was born on December 27, 1895, in Mosciska. Freda was born circa 1893 in Malnow to Hersh and Sarah Schwannenfeld Kelz, and had four siblings, all emigrating to the US before the war. Reina’s sister, Henia, was born in 1928, and a brother, David, was born in 1933. The Sperbers had a farm and owned a general store. It was a comfortable, religious household. Renia spoke Polish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish and had private lessons in German and Hebrew. Renia Perel escaped Malnow, Poland (Malinovka, Lvivska oblast, Ukraine), on December 4, 1941, with her 13 year old sister, Henia, following the invasion by Nazi Germany that June. The Perels' home was broken into by Ukrainians who beat their father, Georg, and the family lived in hiding throughout the summer. In December, Renia and Henia obtained false papers as non-Jewish Ukrainians and left for labor service in Germany. They were assigned to Lampersmuhle textile factory near Kaiserslautern, escaped, but were captured and sent to work on separate farms. The area was liberated on April 8, 1945, by British and French forces. After the war, Renia and Henia lived in a displaced persons camp for Poles in Dunsen, Germany, but kept their assumed identities because of antisemitism in the camp. Renia was lonely and afraid to be living in a world without Jews. They decided to leave and finally made their way to a Jewish dp camp in Backnang. In the spring of 1948, the sisters emigrated to Canada. Renia Perel was placed in a foster home in Vancouver, BC. In 1950 she married Moshe (Morris) Perel and had a daughter, Freda in 1957. Renia Perel died in Vancouver, BC in 2017.