Rubin Udler* b. Braila, Romania, 1925
For two days, we heard loud thundering noises. At night we saw on the horizon sporadic glows, as from fires. It was March 1944, and we were convinced that what we heard and saw were artillery salvos from the long-awaited Soviet front line. Now, we had to save ourselves from the dangers of that nearing front line.
The inmates of the ghetto met to decide what to do. We were in Transnistria, Southwestern Ukraine, in an area occupied by Romanians. We had to escape from the ghetto because Vlasov'sdagger soldiers, Kalmucksdagger from the German Army, and the SS, who were withdrawing behind the retreating Romanians, were brutally killing the Jews.
Some people wanted to return to where they had lived before the ghetto, in the hope of finding their relatives. The older people thought of waiting for the Soviet troops to arrive, joining them in the fight against the fascists, and thus avenging the deaths of their parents, brothers, sisters, and children. Others were undecided. All the proposed plans were very risky. However, all of us craved to be liberated.
My parents, sister, and I decided to go westward, away from the advancing front. Hurriedly, we packed into our knapsacks bread, homemade rusks, fatback, and some clothing. Before going to sleep, we all said goodbye and wished each other good luck.
In the darkness of night, we escaped the ghetto. All the native inhabitants of the area were still asleep. The going was difficult because of mud and snow. Each of us used one hand to carry a thick walking stick, and in the other hand a sack. We proceeded in single file, my father in the lead, followed by my mother, my sister and at the end by me. We walked in silence.
Daybreak found us in a valley far from the village we had left. The March sky was gloomy; gray clouds hung low. Snow lay on the slopes bordering the valley____________________