Bella Arnett (née Froman) was born on September 6, 1917 in Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland). She had three brothers and two sisters. Bella’s father, Chaim,
was a shoikhet, performing the ritual slaughter of animals according to Jewish tradition. He observed Ger Hasidism and was a respected member of the local community. Before the war, Bella attended a Polish school and received Jewish education at home.
Warsaw was invaded by Nazi Germany in fall 1939; a year later the Froman family was incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto, established by the occupying authorities in October 1940. Soon thereafter, Bella married Meyer Aronowicz, in November 1940. She obtained Aryan papers and got a job in a military garment factory outside of the ghetto. When hunger broke out in the ghetto, Bella helped her family smuggle food. Bella and Meyer survived the war living under false identity. Bella’s parents and siblings perished during the Holocaust.
After the liberation of Warsaw by the Soviet armed forces in January 1945, Bella and her husband left Poland and settled in the Lampertheim displaced persons camp in Germany. They then immigrated to New York in April 1948. In the United States, Bella worked in corsetry to help supplement her husband’s income. At the time of her interview, Bella had two children and four grandchildren.
The interview was conducted on March 17, 1995 in Great Neck, NY, United States; interviewer: Tina Tito; videographer: Ramin Fathie. Bella Arnett passed away on June 8, 2013.