b. Mielec, Poland, 1924
Our town was occupied on September 6, 1938, by the Germans. I lived in a mixed neighborhood in Mielec, Poland, near Krakow. In this town also lived my maternal grandmother, four aunts and four uncles. Some were married and had children, and some were single. My immediate family were my parents, Moshe Ytumer and Perla Sima Sittsamer; one older brother, Yisroel; myself; one younger brother, Joseph; and two younger sisters, Devorah and Gitla.
On March 9, 1942—a cold, dank, snowy morning—all the Jewish people of Mielec were ordered from their homes at 5:00 A.M. without any warning. I was seventeen years old. We assembled in the city square, about three thousand of us.
After the SS checked and rechecked that no one was overlooked, we were marched toward the Mielec Airport, about ten miles away. We didn't have time to grab warm clothing, and we had no idea of our destination. Guards and dogs in automobiles and on motorcycles, as well as foot soldiers, escorted us.
Many people could not keep up with the pace of the march. They were shot to death and were left in an open ditch. About two to three hundred people were shot, including my father. He could not keep up because of a leg wound he had received in the First World War, when he was a soldier in Emperor Franz Joseph's Austrian Army.
We arrived at the Mielec Airport in the afternoon. In an unheated airplane hangar, we were immediately divided into groups. Women and young children and older men on the right-hand side; young, able-bodied men on the left. My older brother and I went to the left. The people to the right were herded into box cars, like cattle. That was the last time I saw my beautiful mother, my two little sisters and my younger brother.
Shortly after the train pulled away, the seven hundred of us that were left were divided into groups and were shipped out to various camps. My brother and I were separated, and I never saw him again.
I am the sole survivor from my family.