b. Sochachev, Poland, 1928
When my family was in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, the Gestapo came and took my fifteen-year-old brother away.
My father realized that it was the beginning of the end.
The golden chain of Judaism which had existed for more than a millennium had to be continued.
“My two daughters, Hashem willing, might be able to do this.”
Polish passports had been secured.
Now the escape. Through the sewers was abhorrent to me. Only the gates remained.
At the moment of the changing of the guard a group of us ran to the gates. An alarm was sounded; powerful lights made us highly visible and easy targets.
A few of us did make it.
We ran blindly. Only Hashem could guide us to the forest.
Fortunately, it was harvest time. In the forest we could subsist on berries, mushrooms, and fruit. To quench our thirst the morning dew had to do.
After many days and nights of wandering, I found myself on a farm.
A woman at the well said, “The good Lord sent you. We need help. Can you do farm work?” “Yes, ” I said, “I was raised on a farm. Our farm was destroyed; my parents were killed and I was left alone.” She directed me to the barn. “It's milking time, ” she said.
How am I to milk a cow?
Nothing in my sheltered religious upbringing prepared me for this. With a pail and a stool I approached the cow. A kick landed me on a pile of straw. The farmer's wife ran in, helped me up and said, “I am sorry I didn't tell you to avoid the vicious bull.”
Had I tried to milk the bull, all would have been lost.
While I was growing up, I was always told that I was a beautiful child. My hair, my eyes, my skin, the timbre of my voice.