b. Sochachev, Poland, 1928
My baby brother was eleven months old. My mother could not nurse him. The war was too much for her. On the way from Sochachev to Warsaw in 1939, her milk dried up.
In Warsaw, we needed milk for the baby desperately.
The dairy was one block away.
I must get there.
I had to go without my parents' permission. They never would have allowed it because of the danger of air raids.
The baby and I were inseparable. We often played games together, laughed together, sang together, and I read simple tales to him.
While he was napping I could get away.
Down the six flights, across the street, and I was in line for milk.
Then came the sirens. In a panic, the people dispersed in all directions and I moved up to be first in line. Now I had the milk.
Clutching it, I ran.
A bomb dropped. In my flight I stumbled over a corpse.
Fires were raging everywhere. I heard screaming, moaning, crying, praying. I kept running, with only one thought. I must get the milk to the baby. I saw my parents running toward me.
The family had gone down into the shelter when the sirens went on and found me missing.
Now, as I clutched the bottle of milk, we joined my siblings in the shelter. When the all-clear sounded we labored up the six flights—step by step. Watching the baby drink the milk gave all of us great joy.
My mother spoke softly and seriously to me. “We understand your deep love for your brother, but you should not have risked your life as you did. We would have managed somehow to feed him. Difficult times are ahead. He'll need you.”
The difficulties were much worse than we had ever anticipated.
The Germans did not spare him.
For the rest of my life he is in my heart, in my thoughts, and in my dreams. When my son was born I named him Isaac, after my brother.
Only then did my pain ease a little.