I was born in Poland in 1932. There I attended school until I was eight years old, at which time, the Nazis gave orders for Jews to stay home. I remember hearing my parents discussing rumors of war and that my father was going to be drafted into the Polish army. Everyone stayed close to home. As a child, I listened and heard about troubles. I was a little scared, but I didn't really know the feeling yet. I remember seeing people who were very afraid, especially middle-aged or older people.
The Jews were ordered into ghettos and had to wear the Star of David.
Some people used to stay outside to steal some potatoes or try to get some bread. The Nazis brought them back in, took them down on Main Street and hung them. The Nazis killed them to show everybody there was no way out of the ghetto. It wasn't a ghetto with wires. You could get out if you really wanted to take a chance. My father was a tailor, and I was in the tailor shop making suits for the policemen when I overheard that the ghetto was going to be liquidated. My mother went to a Polish farmer to rent the family a spot in his barn to hide. They were afraid of the Poles too because it was common for them to turn Jews over to the Germans. We moved often and hid in many different places until my parents were captured.
My sister and I were the only ones left. We remained in hiding until we learned that the farmer was planning to sell them. We escaped into the woods and then experienced a miracle. An uncle found us hiding out in a barn underneath the hay supplied for the cows in the bunker. I told the farmer that I knew my sister's children were there, and I had come to take them away. I saved my sister, Sonia, and myself. We stayed with the family in a small bunker, packed together until the end of the war when we traveled to my uncle's house. We were not safe there either. Within several months, the Poles attacked us. My family members and I were shot and wounded.
My aunt and her two children were killed. Those of us who survived left Poland for Czechoslovakia and then moved to West Germany. I eventually emigrated to the United States where I began to work towards finding peace in my new life.
Biography from the
Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Project, Monroe Community College
Photograph by Louis Ouzer