Stefan Chesnofski
With his friend’s Polish identification papers and posing as a Christian farm boy, Yossela boarded a train heading east into the Ukraine, and the unknown. Given the nickname ‘Stefan’, he would spend the next several years laboring in the village of Yezana, finding jobs on family farms in exchange for meals and a place to sleep—most often atop hay in a barn.
Thoughts of his parents and siblings tormented him—guilt for escaping, questions of what may have happened to his loved ones and if he would ever see them again. Yossela, now Stefan, would later learn that he was the only survivor of the Margulies family, and that all the Jews from his entire village had been wiped out.
In 1944 and in an effort to defeat the Germans, the Russians forcefully drafted all able-bodied men, Stefan among them. He and other Poles were transported to Moscow and while there he learned to drive a truck. When his military unit was sent back to serve in Poland, fearing the volatile political situation Stefan fled the army by obtaining fabricated medical discharge papers. As the war finally came to a close, Stefan—numb, alone and almost twenty years old—found work as a driver while pondering what his bleak future had in store.
One day when his passengers struck up a conversation, he could not believe his ears…the two men were speaking Yiddish! He thought he would never again encounter another Jewish soul, yet he understood every word they uttered. Out of fear and disbelief, Stefan did not reveal his true identity to them at first, but soon realized the men were indeed Jewish. He learned of the horrors in Nazi death camps and the number of Jews throughout Europe who perished. Once again he found himself questioning his faith and asking “What sins could millions of Jews have possibly committed to deserve such a terrible fate?” and “Why did I have the misfortune of being born a Jew?”
He desperately wanted to return home to Czerniejow and try to find family members, but somehow he knew the painful truth. Stefan’s new friends told him it was too dangerous to go back to his village and arranged for him to cross the border into Germany where displaced persons camps were being set up to help post-war Jewish survivors. Having survived the war years in Poland with a Polish name, Stefan felt that starting over again would be safer with a new German name—so he called himself “Willie Weisberg”.


Yossela Margulies
Stefan Chesnofski
Willie Weisberg
William Jacob Morgan

Born
Wolf 'Yossela' Margulies
Czerniejow, Ploand
May 18,1925

Parents
Yitzhak Marqulies d. in Holocaust
Ettel Gabirer Marqulies d. in Holocaust

Siblings
Sarah, d. in Holocaust
Solomon, d. Stanislawow Ghetto,1941
Bunya, d. in Holocaust
Byla, d. in Holocaust
Two other brothers, d. in Holocaust