Translated by Jerrold Landau
Donated by Boaz Ben-Pelech I was in Russia. The end of the war was approaching. I read in the newspaper that the Hitlerists were already retreating in the Carpathians. I was anxious for Turka to be liberated, but it was not happening. Difficult weeks passed until Turka was finally liberated. I quickly wrote a letter to my wife in Turka, but I received no reply I already understood that it was bitter: there was nobody left in Turka I wrote another letter, this time to the Turka community. After a long wait, I received a letter from Avraham Hanz from Radicz, near Turka. He told me that the bandits murdered all of the Jews of Turka and its environs. No trace was left of my family
That meant that I was alone. What should I do now no wife, no child, no brothers, no sisters. I was sitting here in dark Lapatino, deep in Russia, knowing nothing about what was going on in the Jewish world How was it that the Jewish world could have allowed so many Jews to be murdered? I asked many questions at that time: Why? However, nobody was able to give me an answer
I began to make efforts to travel home, to Turka, so that I could witness with my own eyes the great misfortune.
I arrived in Lemberg after twelve days. I slept there with my former classmate Shreier, who had survived. I traveled on. I went to Sambor, for no train went to Turka. I arrived in Turka early on the second day.
As I arrived, I stood still and did not know where to go The entire city was a ruin. All of the houses were broken. The only ones that remained whole were the town hall and Chaim Hirsch's house. In the Olica, there was also Moshe Hirsh's house and a number of other houses. The others were broken and run down to the ground. This was my native town, where I spent my entire life! My spirit was downcast, and I remained standing there in a bewildered state
A loud shout woke me out of my thoughts: 'Chaim, when did you arrive?. This was a Jew from Turka. He took me to Chava Brandelsztejn, who remained alive. A Turka Ukrainian, Kamarnichki, hid her in his cellar. Chava was very happy to see me, as she was our best neighbor. She told me everything that took place in my home. She told me when and how my dear ones were killed: my son, wife, sisters, brothers, and stepmother. As she talked, my gaze was fixed upon the floor. I could not look her in the face How could I have left everyone behind to wantonness, and saved myself alone?!
I listened on.. A letter came from Stryj informing that they shot my brother Shlomo Pelech there on July 1. A letter came from Przemysl that they shot my sister Bracha Pelech, also on July 1. My stepmother was shot in Turka on July 1, all in one day! When the children's aktion took place, a Jewish policeman, Chaim Meinbach, entered the house and took my only son Avraham. He was shot that same day.
Thus did I sit and hear about my downfall
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