My parents owned a fabric store, both in the business, I and my sister went to grammar school
Life was very nice – normal.
It was a hectic time for us. Our lives changed completely. Because they had different ordinances for Jewish people. They planned a head of time to solve the Jewish question. If you ever heard the term it was on Hitler’s mind He was obsessed with it, to eradicate the Jewish population.
You can not step on the sidewalk, you have to go on the road. You have to wear the yellow star to identify you. Life was limited for us, beside that the next step was.
Jewish people couldn’t have any jobs in the government, or couldn’t teach in the schools or whatever.
They collected us all in the Beautiful synagogue. And they told us to take some belongings
That they are going to take us to a ghetto. We should mark out belongings. This was all an indication that the would be misleading us to where we are going. They – so we all took along some items with us, basic items, And when we came there, they stripped us of everything, whatever we had on us, They took away everything and told us we were going to the ghetto
The ghetto was not in my town, the ghetto was in town of Velno, and so they put us in columns of three, my aunt’s sister was going in between my parents, I was going in front with a young couple
And they marched us, we went – there was a river in our town, so we marched over the bridge, and the highway, and we walked about a mile and a half, and they turned us into the forest. We didn’t know that in the middle of the night they came to the Polish population. They took out some men from their homes, they told them to take shovels with them. These people didn’t even know where they were going. They brought them to the forest where we were turning in. This was still at night. They were standing there a distance from us and watching. After awhile they were digging a big ditch. They (the Nazi) told them to start digging ditches. They told them to move to the side. When we came into the forest, people had seen that something is going to happen. People are screaming and yelling and children are crying.
They (the Nazis) decided to shoot into the crowd. I supposed they were not organized yet to know how to do it properly – according to them. And I was standing there with this young couple. But I didn’t see my parents. I didn’t see my little sister either. I see some people are running so I was running, too. There was a lot of shooting – like firecrackers. And they (the Nazis) shot them in the head one of them and they had seen my father also begging them to leave him be because he didn’t do anything. My mother escaped a little bit – this is the people told us later. Some of the people who were working with the Nazis – with the police – they went searching and they held them out, and they found my mother and they brought her to the trench and they shot her there.
[She and her sister meet a farmer in his field]
“Both of you climb into the stack of hay that I have here,” [said the farmer to the girls].
So we climbed in and we dug ourselves deep into the stack of hay and I heard from afar galloping horse, and he said “You stay here until I tell you to come out.”
So we stayed there as I hear the horses galloping, somebody is asking him “Did you see here Jewish running away somewhere? Did you see Jewish people running here?”
So he say, “No, I didn’t see anybody.’
So later, he told us that this soldier climbed down from his horse, and he took his rifle and stabbed it into the bail of hay and lucky for us he didn’t hit us. When he see that there is no one here hiding, he left.
My guardian took us in and gave us something to drink, and he said, “I want to tell you something, I told your father, awhile ago, that he should come here and be with my family, and that you should all come to me, but your father said to me `I didn’t do anything. I mean why should I run away from my home and leave everything? I didn’t commit any crimes. I didn’t do anything.’
[The guardian said to her]
“They are still looking for you and the danger is great. Not only will they shoot you, but they will shoot me, too, because – for hiding Jewish people – you get shot.”
[From inside the house she recalls seeing the Nazis outside]
We could see the German Army passing on the highway. The Wermark, the SS, they have their units, I said to myself, “Oh God, if they know who is looking at them. If they were ever think who is so close to them – they would have a victim right there.”
[One day they went to the beach]
His young daughter took a blanket and we went to the beach which was not too far from the home. I laid with my face down because I was afraid of the daylight, I was afraid for anything that somebody will come and recognize me.
I hear German being spoken and I raise my head just a little bit and then I see two Nazis are sitting on the sand. They came for a little sunshine and a swim. So I lowered my head and they swam, and they dried themselves, and then they left. Then my anxiety seized me. I say, “Thank God,” I lay so close and faced my enemy.
[Then near Christmas a German soldier comes into the house where she is hiding]
I was standing and I was making those cookies and I was really into it, and suddenly the door opens, and low and behold, who comes in but a German officer.
He says, “I see you have a guest.”
[The Guardian says] “Sure, this is my cousin.”
He comes over right to me, “oh, what city are you from?”
I said – I don’t know how I had the courage and how I did it, “I said I’m from the city of …” and he says, “What street are you on?,” I said, “School Street,” and he said, “What is the number of your house,” and I said, “12.”
“Oh,” he says, “I see. Wonderful! Your cousins here are having a Christmas Party. And there will be music and dancing.”
I said, “Oh I know.”
He says,” I’m ordering my first dance with you.”
I said, “Oh, officer, sure. Thank you very much for the invitation.”
Then I said to myself, “I’m going to faint, right then and there.”
I don’t know how it happened that I even did that, that I even thought about that, that I didn’t get confused. And after awhile one of this farmer’s son brought him a bottle of whiskey and he left. I didn’t know that this farmer had an illegal distillery. He was making Vodka from corn, from potatoes, from whatever was available. When he had the Vodka ready, the German brought him – the money had no worth, not of any value – so what they brought them was jewelry that they robbed from Jewish victims -- because the girls used to show me and I’d seen Jewish writing.”
[A neighboring farmer tells the Guardian]
“I have a secret that is pressing hard on my soul. I would like to tell you something. I am hiding two Jewish people and they are from the[ Kinstein?] family – two brothers.”
So my friend who let us live with him – you know that took us in – said “If you told me that, that I’m going to tell you my secret. I am hiding two little girls of the same family.”
And it was like midnight and both farmers brought us all together in the fields, my two uncles and both of us, and we all embraced and we cried, we knew that this was the only thing that’s left.
[Later, she and her sister are discovered]
I didn’t know what happened. I heard a “Get up! Get out! You Jew!” and didn’t know what happened. And when I got up and got dressed, they threw me against the wall, they kicked me, and they dropped me into a cell. In the cell I heard voices – it was pitched dark I don’t know even who was sitting there. The ghetto was still in existence. Jewish people there used to collect money to pay ransom to German officers, you know, if they find anyone in the country side or escape from the ghetto. They would pay them to release them.
[She was eventually liberated]