b. Horodok, Poland, 1920
A farmer named Kowarski brought my family out of Ghetto Krasny.
Kowarski traveled occasionally to the town of Krasny to sell produce and buy necessities. He did clandestine errands for the partisans, and was known to be reliable.
After I escaped from the ghetto and joined the partisans in the nearby forest, I approached Kowarski to find out the feasibility of rescuing my family.
Cautiously, I asked him whether he could deliver a message to my family in the ghetto.
“It's dangerous for outsiders to enter the ghetto, ” he said.
“I know it's dangerous—but is it possible?”
“It's possible if you know the right people and the timing is right.”
“Do you know the right people?” I now inquired.
“I know one person who has access to the ghetto.”
I hinted that he would be rewarded handsomely.
Impassive—as if he hadn't even heard my offer—he said, “Give me the names of your family and tell me which house they're in.”
A few days later he told me he was going to town and would try to contact my family. Upon his return he told me that he had delivered the message.
“I told them to be ready to leave next time I contact them, ” was all he said. Kowarski rescued my brother and sister in December 1942. On March 17,
1943, he rescued my mother—only. My father refused to leave because my other sister was recuperating from typhoid.
We paid him with cattle and other goods taken from farmers outside the area where the partisans operated.
On March 19, 1943, Ghetto Krasny was annihilated.
This same man, Kowarski, had earlier helped get weapons from Ghetto Krasny into the forest, enabling me and then my friends to join a group of partisans.
And it was Kowarski who, upon his return from another trip to Krasny, had told us about a group of young people from the ghetto who were due to arrive in the forest. They had weapons and were about to join a partisan group called Grischency, he had said.
Kowarski later told us that the men had arrived. But from then on, no one heard a word about them.