b. Sochachev, Poland, 1928
There was a great shortage of manpower in Germany since all the men were in the army.
Posing as a Polish farm girl, I worked on a farm in a German village on the Elbe. For two years I labored in the fields, milked the cows and fed the chickens.
By 1945 we were aware that the war was coming closer and closer.
We heard the war machine in action, but did not realize how close the conflict really was.
One morning while working in the barn I heard a shot, dogs snarling, voices yelling lauf, lauf Hunde.
I ran out to see what was happening.
I could not believe what I saw. Were these men human beings?
Emaciated, in tattered striped uniforms, barefoot, bent, shuffling. They looked like puppets. One heap on the ground was the poor soul who had been shot. He had stumbled. The corpse was kicked aside and the line straightened again.
Above all the din and uproar, I heard or did I imagine it, the words pitifully moaned, “Wasser, Wasser.”
I rushed back to the barn, grabbed a pail of water for this suffering human being. I was immediately arrested and dragged to the Gestapo prison. I was locked in with other criminals with no way to escape.
When they took me in, I knew it was the end for me. Would I be tortured before I was hanged or shot?
If that were to be, I would join my beloved family. On the other hand I wanted to live.
As the door was forced open I said what I thought was the last Shema Israel. But it was not.
The soldiers were Russians. I yelled, “Ich been eine Jude, Jude, Jude, Ich been nicht eine Deutsche.” (I am not a German.)
I was sobbing, I was hysterical. My head was bowed, fear gripped me, I was trembling.
What did fate have in store for me?
I felt arms around me.
Those were not enemies' arms.