All of those present brought in what they had. Since this was unexpected, we were forced to enter through a sewage pipe. Each one entering had to crawl on his back a distance of about ten meters through the yard, until they dropped down into the place under my house. After all of them went down, my husband and son remained outside in order to hermetically seal the bunker. They sealed it with a stone set aside for this, which looked like a monument covered with a structure of tin and wood, sealed from the bottom with screws with button-like notches. Later, all of this was covered with water to a height of 4.5 meters. Thus was the bunker large and unique, and no person would be able to find it. At first, this was made for the needs of our flourmill, and the water was used for the production of grits called harichka. First, the harichka would be boiled in a vat whose height and width was five meters, and when the vat was active, one had to bring in water in an automatic fashion from the pool of water. There were two such pools in the mill. The entrance to our bunker was under one of those pools. After all the aforementioned people entered the bunker, the bottom entrance was sealed and the pool filled with water after being sealed hermetically with a stone that prevented the water from entering the bunker. At first, the cellar was under my house. However, during the era of the Germans, when we saw that this was no laughing matter, my husband, some other residents of our house and the children enlarged the bunker. They brought out the clods of earth in baskets and scattered them in a way that this would not be noticed.
The Judenrat offered a prize of 500 dollars to any guard who would expose the bunker of Yitzchak Shourz, and the members of the guard dug around for 14 days to no avail. They followed after the children, but the children were very careful and did not fall into the trap.
What took place in the bunker? It is obvious that it was extremely uncomfortable for the group of 50-60 people who were in the cellar, in the dark without air. Everything had to be done in the cellar, including attending to one's needs. Among them there were boys and girls, old people, and religious people. A barrel that was sunken into the ground was used for a toilet. At first people were embarrassed and attended to their needs in privately. However after 14 days of sitting there without washing the face and hands, each of us felt ourselves to be a solid chunk of rotting flesh. The stench from the barrel was horrific, and the feelings of shame ceased from us. We all waited for some sort of miracle to come. There was no other hope for us.
Indeed on the designated day, at 7:00 a.m., we were already all underground in the bunker. At 11:00 we heard the terrible shouting from above. According to the order of the Gestapo, each of us was to bring a sack of 5 kilos that consisted of our most valuable and necessary items. The Gestapo set up loudspeakers and issued a command to the monasteries and churches to ring their bells at full force, so as to make a great noise that would drown out the weeping and screaming of those who were sentenced to death. The Gestapo men snatched the sacks from the Jews and threw them onto a transport truck. The people were forcibly loaded onto a second vehicle. Later, we heard the sound of the shooting of thousands of bullets in Zahajce. All of those
in the bunker said that I, Henia, had foreseen this from the outset, and my words were justified by this most tragic event
Then came the hour of the Judenrat guard. After the members of the Gestapo murdered all of the Jews of the ghetto in Zahajce, they order all of the guards to line up in the ghetto. There were approximately 30 people. The head of the Gestapo delivered a brief speech to them: I thank you, honorable sirs, for your faithful service and assistance. He removed his revolver from its case and shot every second person in the row. He commanded the rest, who were still alive, to ascend the vehicle. An order was given to the members of the Judenrat, Leib Shapiro, Muni Fink, Dover, Trauner with their families and relatives (I have forgotten the names of the rest of the people), as well as the rest of the guards and members of the Judenrat to transfer them to Tarnopol. The head of the Gestapo promised them that he would not shoot them. Here, he showed himself as a refined man with polite manners. He kept his promise, and sent them to Tarnopol, to the jurisdiction of the Gestapo of that city. The Gestapo of Tarnopol brought in the heads of the Judenrat and the Jewish guards to a room. He locked them in and sealed it well, and then set the house on fire with all those who were inside. This was the payment for their faithful service of providing silver, gold, money, precious stones, and anything that the murderous Nazis desired packages filled with all good things that were sent to their families in Germany. This was their payment as well for providing people for the aktions against the Jews in Podhajce and in other places
We, those imprisoned in the bunker, had enough food for only three days. We began to suffer from hunger on the fourth day, and people began to lose their tempers. We began to divide up the available food by weight and measure. A piece of sugar was considered as medicine for the sick. Finally, we were left without anything. Among us was an elder youth from a very important family, whose name I do not wish to mention. He had prepared for himself several loaves of bread that he held between his legs, or he might have been sitting on his sack. He sat with his head lowered and his hands over his head. Since it was dark, he would sit and eat without anyone seeing him in his disgrace. The children would search the floor to see if perhaps a tiny morsel or crumb of bread could be found. In so doing, they ran into the sack of this youth. Then, they began to watch him vigilantly, and when he went to attend to his needs, the children took out the bread from the sack and distributed a piece to everyone. They filled the sack with stones and earth. The youth took his time in attending to his needs, and in the meantime, we ate up all the bread. When he finished his job he returned to sit in his place and began to scratch through his sack in order take out some bread. His disappointment was great when he found stones in the sack. He began to shout out loud about what had occurred. However we quieted him with the threat that if he would not stop his shouting we would strangle him, and he ought to be ashamed of his narcissism, thinking only about himself at a time when all those gathered divided up their last morsel of bread, and the young children are sitting overcome with hunger and famine.
This was only the fourth day in the bunker, and the hunger and tragic suffering had only began. People turned into wild animals. Disputes and arguments broke out, and everyone began to complain about each other. For example, you are speaking too much, you cough too much, a bad odor is coming from you, you took the best spot, you should switch with me. Sima Weisman and her sister Danchia Rozman sat quietly on the ground bound to one another, as if they were stuck together. From time to time we approached them to see if they were still alive, for they were the quietest of all. I cannot mention the names of several men, women and children who went crazy. We especially suffered from the tragic women who turned the bunker into a literal hell. We had not imagined all this. Only now did we find out that it is worse to die from hunger than to die by sword.
Then a new will to live was rekindled among us. I already mentioned above that all of those who went down with us to the bunker were prepared to die there that is, they descended into a communal grave. However, it was very difficult to live together with people who had lost their self-control, including those who had the patience of steel. The hunger gave them the urge to desire both food and life.
On the evening of the fifth day in the bunker, my late husband wanted to see what the situation as outside, since a deathly silence pervaded above. Even before this we had heard knocking, the movement of furniture and the noise of cars, upon which people were loading the booty that they had pillaged from the Jewish homes. After this silence pervaded, similar to the silence of the cemetery. My husband opened the bunker and we chose several astute youths, including our son Aharon, to go out and see what the situation was. The first task of these youths was to see if there was any guard in the ghetto, and if the Kubans are still in the city. The youths crept into the gardens of the houses, moved from one roof to the other. They returned and said that the ghetto is still closed, and the gate is hermetically locked. The ghetto is still as it was before, and they heard people chatting in the alleys. This was at 2:00 a.m. The youths were withered from hunger, and they decided to search for something to eat to sustain their souls. They divided the houses among themselves, and everyone went to search in a different home. They searched and found dry morsels of bread, and in one house my son found some ingredients for the making of ice cream. They also found some corn meal, chicken feed, several bags of sugar, and a number of moldy biscuits. When the murderers and pillagers removed the furniture from the homes, they left behind several morsels of rotting bread under the closets. The youths
also said that the ghetto guards are still stationed around it, that the entire guard is still intact, and that there is no possibility of leaving there. The youths began to distribute the ice cream ingredients among those in the bunker. Everyone received only a small portion. They also distributed the biscuits that they had collected. We sat in the bunker in this manner for about two days. The famine did not cease. However, there remained a bit to eat a bit of cornmeal and potato peels that the youths had gathered from here and there. We then opened the bunker, and two women took out a vat for laundry. We brought in food and lit the oven. This was at 2:00 a.m. and the youths guarded the gardens to ensure that nobody would come. However, at night it was more difficult than during the day, for at night it was possible to see embers coming from the chimney, and when the washers saw the smoke from afar they thought that a fire had broken out and they began to run in the direction of the chimney. The youths gave a sign to put out the fire. Indeed, they immediately took a bucket of water and poured it into the vat. They removed the boiling vat from its place and again sealed the bunker hermetically. The murderers reached the place, wandered around, searched and smelled, and left empty handed. Below in the bunker the residents fell on the vat. Everyone wanted to get a bit of food to sustain himself. After this we swore not to conduct this activity again, for it would be better for us to die of hunger. My sister Liba could no longer look upon the agony of her two children and the look on their faces. Here husband was also in a state of despair and oppression after seeing the terrible situation of his children, and he wished to commit suicide. However, they guarded him at all times. My husband also wished to commit suicide, for he had no more energy to continue in our dire state. Rivka Heller, her sister and others whose name I no longer remember also rose up. They demanded that we let them leave the bunker, for they can no longer tolerate the hunger. They raised a tumult and began to shout: Let's leave here. However we knew well that if we allow anyone of us to leave, we would all pay with our lives, for they would capture them, torture them severely until they could no longer withstand the trial from the beatings and sufferings, and they would reveal the hiding place. Our aim was to die in the bunker and not to fall in the hands of the murderers of Hitler, may his name be blotted out. This was the request of each of us. Now, with the shouting of those who were rising up, there was danger that the cries would be heard outside. As a result we informed the screamers that we would gag their mouths if they do not stop and become quiet. The situation reached a point of severe danger and panic. Those present tore off their clothes, tore out the hair from their heads, and bit each other's flesh. Finally my sister Liba turned to my husband with the request: My dear brother-in-law, have mercy upon me. You relate to me with complete trust. I swear to you by the life of my children that you can let me go out, and I promise you with a full heart that even if they cut my body into pieces, I will not reveal your secret. Your heart can be calm and trusting with my oath. And if you do not let me go, I will have no choice other than to commit suicide with the poison that I preserved for myself. My husband decided to let her go. However, her husband and children remained in the bunker. We all bid her farewell, for we were certain that we would not see her again. She left, and the bunker was again sealed. Those who remained in the bunker complained: why do you let her leave and prevent the rest of us from doing so? My husband retorted that he had complete trust in my sister, and he does not have similar trust in the others that wish to leave. Even before she left, my sister told us that we do not have to be afraid at all, for nothing will come from her mouth that will reveal our hiding place. On the other hand, she promised to do whatever she could to hasten aid to us, and if she could not do anything to our benefit, she would not return to us. My sister left and went to the attic of the house, and from there, she looked through the cracks and saw a man armed with weapons, wandering about below whistling merrily. My sister also whistled. The gentile began to cross himself, thinking that the dead are whistling at him. My sister recognized him. This was a Volksdeutsche named Barshtash, who would purchase from us the leftovers of the mill for the pigs and fowl. My sister shouted to him: Don't be afraid. I am still alive. I am Mrs. Finkova, the sister of Mrs. Shourz. Come to me. He held up his weapon ready to shoot, and my sister left the attic and entered the house. Barshtash entered the house and said, I also recognize you. She told him that aside from here, there are about 50 men and women hidden in a bunker. However I cannot tell reveal the location to you, even if you will cut my body into pieces. Even if you decide to turn me in, you will only be able to turn me in, for I do not care what happens to me. Tears streamed from the eyes of the gentile, and he said after a brief pause: So what do you want me to do for you? First of all, said my sister, Please bring me two loaves of bread with some sugar and water, with several candles and matches. Leave them all in one corner at 1:00 a.m. and whistle. After that, I want you to take us all out of here and transport us to the other bank of the river, and in return for this, you will receive a bag filled with gold, watches, dollars, and diamond rings. After we are on the other side of the river, we will show you the location of the bunker, and you will find there textiles and other objects, and everything that you find there will belong to you. The gentile thought for a moment and said: I want that you will swear to me that if they capture you, you will not reveal my name, for I am the father of six young children, and I must sustain them. He again stopped and added: To you it won't matter any more, for you would be finished. However I stand by my demand not to mention my name in the event that they capture you. My sister promised her that she would keep her oath.
The gentile informed her that at 2:00 a.m. he would come
to take us, and that we should be ready for this. With great effort and hard work, we crowded through and ascended. Everyone in the bunker was stuck together like one unit. When we sensed the air above, some began to lose consciousness and faint. A foul odor emanated from the people who sat together in the bunker and attended to their needs in their clothes. We had a difficult task in raising up two people, a man and a woman, who had gone crazy. We had to drag them up and hold their mouths closed at moments when fate was likely to be decisive between life and death, so that they would not shout or weep. Barshtash advised us to divide into two groups, for it would be difficult to transport such a large group at once. He had to do the job twice. One group organized themselves in a line with me in the yard. We then heard questions from members of the second group as to what would they do without money if the first group would cross over, and they would be left alone without means. My husband promised them that he would go with the first group, and my son and I would go with the second group. After the plan succeeded and the first group crossed over in peace, he would give a sign that all was okay.
After the first group crossed over, Barshtash transported the second group. He marched in front, and we followed behind him at a distance of 30 meters. Suddenly we saw a group of drunken gentiles running and shouting at us. We began to run back. We returned to our yard and began to return to the bunker. After that Barshtash came to us and explained to us who these gentiles were that we had met. They were Ukrainian murderers who were appointed as ghetto guards. He purchased about 20 liters of liquor, gathered them all at one end of the city, and told them to remain there and not to leave their place until he returns to them, for he must arrange an urgent matter. He then busied himself with transporting the people from the bunker. However, the drunks did not have the patience to wait until he returned, and they went out with sticks in their hands, acting wild as was their manner. Barshtash ran to them and chased them back to their place. He then returned to us to transport us. I chastised him, for I thought that he incited the Ukrainians. Finally I gave him the sack full of gold, silver and watches, and he repeated his urging not to expose his name in the event that one of us would be captured. I found my husband and my daughter, who was severely injured as she crossed the river. Her foot stumbled and she fell, and my husband wanted to lift her up. The Gestapo men far off saw something black move, and thought that it was a dog. They shot the girl and injured her leg. The girl remained lying down motionless. Another Gestapo man wanted to shoot her a second time. However the other said to him: Lay off. She already has died. After they left, my husband left one of the ruins in which he had found refuge and lifted up the girl in her hands. Blood was flowing from her, and he tore off a piece of cloth from his coat to make her a bandage. The rest of the people made haste to flee into the forests, each to a different direction, and not one was caught. The entire thing was completed in peacefully.
My husband had told those who left the bunker that if circumstances cause everyone to run alone in a different direction, everyone should know and recall that they meeting point will be at the Kaplicza behind the bridge. This was it. I did not find my husband, for Barshtash transported us over the river in an area behind the ghetto. I began to search for him and forgot the words of my husband that in an event such as this, we should meet in the aforementioned place. With despair, I thought to run into the forest in the direction that my sister and brother-in-law had mentioned. Suddenly, my son remembered the words of his father, who told us what to do if we all lose track of each other. My son called to me: Come and let us go over the bridge to the Kaplicza, where there is no doubt that Father will be waiting for us. I listened to my son, and remembered the words of my father-in-law who said that sometimes one must listen as well to a child, for prophecy is found in the mouths of children. I went with my son, with words of reproof prepared in my heart. We reached the area behind the Szachtowka, which was a stream of water that was deeper than a person's head, which was difficult to cross. Out of great confusion and fear, I uttered sharp words to my son: Look where you led me, now we must throw ourselves in the water for there is no other way. As we lay on the ground we saw a German guard pacing back and forth over the bridge, and we were concerned lest they might see us, for the night was clear. It was already 3:00 a.m. As we lay on the ground in this manner, an idea went through my mind: Why did I not run together with them all to the forest? Now we are lying down as in prison, without being able to move forward or backward. As we lay on the ground I said to my son: My son, our end has come. We will cast ourselves into the river if the Germans or Ukrainians approach us. I lay down and wept with tears: Was it for this that I struggled for two years in the closed ghetto, to come to a situation where we must drown ourselves in the river so that we will not fall into the hands of the murderers? I approached the banks of the river, and as I lay down with my head up, a long cry of Genia broke out from my mouth. The echo of my voice was heard as the song of a bird. I wanted to mention the name of my daughter once before my death. At the sound of this call, my son hurried to me and began to kiss and caress me. He wept greatly and did not let me jump into the river. Suddenly I heard a lengthy call of Mama. I recognized the voice of my Genia and within a moment, the thought of jumping into the water was abandoned. I saw that my son was correct, they were not far from us.
It is interesting to point out that my son demanded of me, Let's go to Father. My daughter also asked of Father, Why did you go without Mother, and she never ceased to demand that he come to Mother, and gave him no rest. When they heard the echo of my long cry of Genia, the girl was calmed slightly. My husband asked her at all times to remain lying in her place, and he would swim across the river and attempt to find us. When she heard my voice, the girl agreed to her father's advice, to not approach us. I
and my son did not know about this. We lay down and looked over the straw, and on the other side we saw something like a small boat. As we watched the boat, we saw that it was approaching us, and we were trembled in fear that the Germans heard me calling Genia, and that now they were coming to see from where the sound came. I hugged my son and we whispered Shema Yisrael. Then we saw my husband descending from the boat, jumping into the water and swimming to us. We hugged and kissed, and my husband told me to hurry up, for Genia cannot lie there alone unless he returns to her immediately. I had no words in my mouth. My husband was an expert swimmer. He took me on his shoulders, swam with me to the boat that was about 50 meters away, and lay me on its bottom. He then returned to swim with our son. The strong will and desire to live was again rekindled in us after the three of us were together in the boat. Suddenly we heard the sound of the German guard: Halt!. Immediately we heard the sound of shots. At first we thought that the call and shots were directed to us, and that perhaps they captured our daughter. She thought that they were shooting at us, and she began to wail and weep, not wanted to remain alone, and she began to run to us. Later it became clear that the guards were not directing their attention to us. We quickly entered the boat and met up with Genia. It is difficult to describe in words the joy of our meeting, as if we returned from death to life. We sat together and began to think about what to do further. We were suffering from cold and dampness, and we did not think about eating or sleeping. Then my husband said, Children, we must continue with our flight and not think about food or sleep. My husband had already been several times to the Ukrainian who had prepared the bunker for us, and he began to take us to him. However it became clear that the he had not found the correct route that we needed to go on in the direction of Poplowa. Again my husband said Children, I cannot continue on. My strength has left. The sky became very cloudy, and this helped us. For had the sky not been covered with clouds, the gentiles would have been taking out their animals to pasture, and they would certainly have found us.
A heavy rain with hail fell all morning. It covered us, and we had to lie down facing upwards. We saw that the rain was indeed a miracle from Heaven, for without it, who knows if the gentiles would not have found us, turned us over to the murderers and received several kilos of sugar and kerosene in exchange for us. The rain stopped at noon, and we continued to lie down until the evening. The sky brightened somewhat, and this had a positive influence upon my husband's spirit. His energy returned. He began to think again about the correct way for us to go, and we continued along the journey with our last strength. My husband and son went first, and my daughter and I followed them at a distance of some tens of meters in order not to arouse the suspicion of those who might meet us. We dragged ourselves along until we were about two kilometers from the village. My daughter and I remained for I could not continue on. I remained lying down in a small ditch. My husband and son went to the Ukrainian and asked him to go with a wagon to get my daughter and I. This is what we had agreed between us, and thus it was. My son went with the gentile in the direction that my husband had described, in order to search for me. They searched for a long time and did not find me. The Ukrainian returned full of anger and shouted: Where did you send me? I could not find the place. My husband was confused, thinking that he had gone to the place without finding us.
In the interim, as we were lying in the fruit orchard, the gentile woman who owned the orchard went out of her house to the garden, and my heart was pounding with fear. The gentile woman saw us and began to cross herself. She immediately recognized that I was a Jewish woman, and asked me: From where did you come? In the name of G-d, where do you want to go? I answered her that we were going to Buchach. He continued asking: Today you are going to Buchach? Don't you know that the Germans are retreating and fleeing because of the heavy bombardment? Where do you want to go now in such a situation? I went to get something to eat. However I thought that that my husband would come in the meantime with the gentile to get me, and would not find me. She then asked us if we have something to sell, and from where we were. I told her that we have nothing to sell, and we only have a few worn out sheets to cover ourselves from the cold, and that we had come from the forests. She told us that her daughter is not far from there, and she would bring us something to eat.
She distanced herself from us, and my daughter and I began to tremble with fear. We were certain that she went to call her husband, and that he would come to kill us, since she had seen us with two sacks, and she would have wondered what were in those sacks. We thought we would flee after the gentile woman left us. However, I remember that we had agreed with my husband to wait for him in that place. In the meantime the gentile woman returned and brought us a small basket of food and milk. However our lips were trembling to such an extent that we could not open our mouths. The gentile woman sat next to us and told us that shortly her husband would come and show us the route to Buchach. I answered her that we were both very tired, and wished to rest a bit from the travail of traveling on the roads. My daughter was trembling greatly from fear. Please do not tell anyone about us. Not even your husband or neighbors. You yourself told us that it is not peaceful on the roads due to the retreat of the Germans. We will rest here, and only leave at the evening. The gentile woman left us and told us that she would return in the evening to show us the route.
In the meantime, we tired ourselves of waiting for the arrival of my husband with the gentile. I did not know that there was a misunderstanding and they had stumbled on the way. When the gentile returned without us, my husband said that he would drive the wagon himself to search for us. He would sit in the wagon with the gentile and indeed found us. He told us why he had been so late in arriving. The gentile drove us on his wagon and covered us in straw. He took us thus to his house. To our ill luck, at the same time the neighbor of the gentile arrived and began to enter into a two-hour conversation with him, and he could not take us out of our hiding place.
We almost choked from lack of air and weariness, but we continued to lie under the straw without moving. This was Sunday. The wife of the neighbor was also there. She sat in the yard and chatted until they had enough of sitting and went on their way. Then the gentile came to us and took us to the barn. Later he came to us and told us to trust him, and to fulfil all of his requests. First, you must strip of all your clothes and remain only in your undergarments. All the rest of your belongings, shoes, and even gold, you must leave above. We were forced to strip and go down half-naked to the pit. The pit had room only for one adult and one child. Even as I lay alone, I was able to touch both sides of the pit with my shoulders. The girl lay in my arms, and Aharon lay in my husband's arms. We all lay down stuck to each other, like bricks in the wall.
For half of the first year, the gentile related to us in a more or less humane manner, and served us sufficient food. The gentile explained to us that he had heard that many Jews were captured and murdered in the forests in which they were hiding. Even Jews who had found refuge in the bunkers were murdered by those who hid them. On account of the rumors, searches were conducted at the homes of other gentiles. However our gentile was simply crazy. He was young and did not know very much. He ran to and fro with the bug of what should I do eating at his brain. There were no longer any Jews hidden with the farmers of the village, and the relations of the gentile to us worsened day by day. He wanted to kill us from hunger. He would shout to us in despair: To me you are like Noah in the ark. Where should I hide you? There are no more Jews around. He banged his head with his hands, saying: What do you want from my life? Why did you choose me to save you? I also have a wife and children. He stopped bringing us food, and only when he prepared food for the pigs potatoes with their peels mixed with bran did the farmer throw us some half cooked potatoes, without giving us water to drink. The farmer wanted us to die of hunger in the pit, and then he would cover the pit upon us as if we had never been with him. We felt that the day was nearing when he would kill us. I already pointed out that the gentile was not very intelligent. He simply had no ideas of what to do. My husband called the gentile, whose name was Dimitry, and said to him: Don't think that we are the last Jews who remain alive. Know that there will be always Jews alive, and there are still a large number of them. You should know that all my relatives are in large partisan camps in the forests. At night they or their representatives come to me, and ask if we are missing anything. Up to this point I did not want to tell you all this, for I did not want to frighten you. However apparently my husband's words had no effect upon him, and perhaps he realized that all this was simply empty talk. After this discussion he clapped his hands together and said, To hell. What did you want from my life? Whatever way things happened, you were among those sentenced to death. Why did you cleave specifically to me? I do not want to be killed because of you. He continued to torture us with lack of food. He did not even give us a measure of water, let alone a slice of bread. He only threw us a piece of bread during the days of Christian holidays. Apparently, he waited daily for our deaths. My husband said that as long as our breath is still within us we must save ourselves. My husband still had a few dollars sewn in his collar that the gentile did not know about, thinking that he had taken everything us when he lowered us into the pit.
My husband asked the gentile to bring us a newspaper or some sections of newspapers in order to read about what was happening outside. He also wanted to use the newspapers to calculate when Yom Kippur would be. However, the gentile refused to fill his request. My husband calculated the times in the pit and finally figured out the day that was Yom Kippur. He told the gentile: Yom Kippur will be on such and such a day. This is our holiest day. We do not eat on this day. Therefore I ask of you, Dimitry my friend, to help us with something that will not cost you money. The food that you usually bring at noon you should bring toward the evening, and tomorrow do not give us anything to eat, for it is our fast day. Only in the evening, at the end of Yom Kippur, should you give us food. The gentile did not answer this request at all. He did not bring us the food at noon but rather toward evening, and the next day, on Yom Kippur, he did not bring us anything. We thought that after it got dark, he would bring us food to restore our souls after the fast. The girl was also waiting for food, for even she, a young girl, observed the fast. However night came and the gentile went to bed without bringing us food. My husband endangered himself, went up from the pit, entered the gentile's house, woke him up and asked him: Why did you not bring us something to eat? We did not eat all day because of the fast. The gentile answered angrily: You wanted to fast on your festival, you can continue to fast even all night. The gentile refused to get up and prepare food. Then my husband took a few potatoes in a metal pot and brought them to the hole. He also took straw for fuel. Dimitry pretended not to see and continued to sleep. The cooking of the potatoes took until 2:00 a.m. In the meantime, my son ascended from the pit and brought a few potatoes. We ate the raw potatoes
until the rest were cooked. In the morning, Dimitry acted as if nothing had happened and brought us food as usual.
The gentile employed our son Aharon for the removal of manure from the barn every week. As he worked, Aharon dug a hole in the wall of the pit. Each time he widened the hole with a knife and covered the mouth of the hole with manure. The hole grew with time to the point that a person could pass through it. One harsh, snowy winter night, my husband and son set out on their way wearing only pajamas. Each of us only had a sheet. We went barefoot, for the gentile took everything from us. Instead of shoes, they tied sheets around their feet. Each of them had a stick that they carried under their shoulder as a gun or so it looked from afar. The snow was a meter deep. They parted from us with mutual wishes that we would see each other soon.
They went to the village of Poplowa, knowing that there were Subotniks (a Christian sect that observes the Sabbath) in that village. They approached the window when they saw the first light in one house in the village. The gentile saw them and thought that they were partisans. He hid and did not want to open up for them. They continued to go on until they came to the third house, where the door was opened for them and the gentile recognized them. This was a Subotnik who was an acquaintance of my husband. The gentile crossed himself and asked him where he was located. My husband answered him: I cannot tell you anything right now. First give us food. The gentile brought a bucket of milk from the barn. He placed the entire bucket of milk on the table before the guests. They drank the milk as a medicine that saved the life, and also tore up a loaf of bread into pieces and swallowed it. My husband did not tell the gentile where they were located, even though he was a Subotnik. He told him that they were in a pit in the forest. The gentile asked him: What food should I make for you? My husband gave him five dollars and asked for bread in return. The gentile did not want to take the money. After a brief thought, he got up and brought two large loaves of bread and other food for the way. My husband gave him more money to prepare loaves of bread for his next visit. However the gentile wanted to make it easier for him by not making it necessary for him to visit to take the food. They agreed upon a place where he would leave the food on a specific day, and from there he would be able to take the package. My husband asked him to prepare bread, tobacco, matches, some olive oil and some potash, for he suffered greatly from heartburn. My husband and son took the packet and prepared to return to where we were.
My daughter and I lay down next to the hole and looked outside. Perhaps we would see them as they returned. We heard the barking of dogs, and we were sure that they were captured along the way. We could not calm ourselves, and the desire to leave the pit grew in us, so that their fate would be our fate. If they were captured, we would also be captured, for even here, our lives were hanging from afar. These hesitations lasted for about two hours. Finally my husband and son returned in peace, and entered the pit through the hole. My son resealed the hole so that it would not be recognizable, and brought us the precious food. We divided up the bread, which was literally consumed as it was still in our palms. I secretly hid a morsel of bread under my back, and my daughter did so as well. In the corner of the pit there was a pot into which the gentile sometimes tossed in some food from what he was feeding the pigs. My daughter hid her portion in this pot. We then went to sleep. Early in the morning, at dawn, the gentile came to take the pot, for he would cook the pig food in it. This was a narrow iron pot into which he would place 18 small potatoes with some bran to prepare for the pig. He would not peel them and would not clean off the clods of earth that were stuck to them. My husband did not know about the gold treasury that was resting in the dirty pot, hidden by our daughter, and he passed the pot out to the gentile. When we woke up, our daughter began to search for the morsel of bread that she had hidden, and then we were concerned that the gentile might find out our secret. However, my husband calmed down immediately, recalling that he had once told the gentile about the partisans that would come to visit us at night. Now there would be proof that indeed, partisans visited us that night and left us some bread
We began to deliberate how to save ourselves from the gentile. However suddenly the gentile came with an angry face and shouted: Shourz, come out! My husband immediately went out, and I followed him. My husband was the first one out. As soon as I managed to get out, I heard a scream as if someone was strangling a person at his throat. My husband shouted out Ah- ah ah. I wanted to get out but could not, because the gentile stood with both feet over the hole. He wore spiked rubber shoes on his feet. The gentile continued to choke my husband, and I could not get out of the pit. I bit the gentile's leg very hard until it started to bleed. Out of great pain, the gentile let my husband go and kicked me strongly with his nailed boot, so that blood flowed from my face and over my whole body. Despite the pain of the kick, I ran to the gentile and shouted to him with all my strength: Murderer, thief. You are worse than Hitler. He immediately pillages and murders his victims, but you stole everything that we have, and now you are torturing us without giving us a morsel of bread or a drop of water, and now you have come to strangle my husband. Let us go to the Germans. I have no more strength to suffer this. Look at what you have done to us. From the great anguish and anger I lost control of myself and became hysterical. The children tried to calm me down through various means, with caresses and kisses. The gentile became very afraid from the situation, fell down before our feet and pleaded with us to be quiet and not to arouse any noise (For I shouted that the partisans would come and take revenge for us). I lost four teeth from the kick of the gentile, and later I lost the rest of my teeth that were left in my mouth. It is difficult to describe the situation of losing all of one's teeth at once. I felt like a small child.
The gentile appeased me, begged me to remain quiet, and told us that everything would improve. We returned to the pit. From them, the gentile improved our portions of food
and drink, added potatoes with a drop of salt, and also gave cigarettes to my husband to smoke without matches. Rather he lit it from the cigarette that was in the gentile's mouth. Then my husband transferred the fire from one cigarette to another, thereby smoking the five cigarettes one after the other. The gentile stood and laughed at the site of this chain smoking. Once the gentile told me that throughout the village it is said that partisans surround the village, and the footsteps are leading to him. But you have not been outside? My husband answered him: How did you suddenly get such an idea in your heart? You took away my shoes, and how can I go outside with such snow as this.
Several weeks passed, and Dimitry did not give my husband cigarettes to smoke. The situation again became more difficult. The gentile continued to restrict our portions of food until we came to the situation of not living and not dying. This desperate situation once again roused us to action.
My husband and son once again tied their bare feet with sheets and went through the hole that was always covered with dung. They went once again to the nearby village where the Subotnik who they visited a few weeks ago lived. This time it was easier for my husband to go at night, for he already knew the way. When he reached the village he knocked on the window of the acquaintance. He crossed himself and asked: Where were you all this time, my friend? My husband answered that he could not come because of the danger, and he left five dollars for food on his first visit. The Subotnik started to pack two packs of necessary provisions, one for my husband and one for my son. They returned without problem, and we were very happy. They also brought a section of a Ukrainian newspaper. We again sealed the hole with dung after we wiped over all of our steps from around the barn. From the piece of newspaper that my husband brought, it was possible to surmise that there was happy news from the front. The battles were taking place on the entire length of the front, and the situation of the Germans was not bright. Almost everyone had been killed in the forests, and there were still bunkers that had not been exposed. The Subotnik asked my husband to go around less outside. If you have already maintained yourself to this point, you must be careful that they do not kill you, for this entire 'game' will end soon. I promise you, added the Subotnik, that you will survive, as long as you do not wander around outside. Indeed, now we were calmer. My husband again had something to smoke, and we were not lacking in food. We continued to sit in the pit in the barn in this manner for another few months, with suffering and oppression. The lice ate us, and the gentile did not allow us to wash. We also did not change our clothing, even though he had all of our clothes. He tortured us in various ways, but he was also very afraid, for he believed that we had a connection with the partisans. Dimitry even knew of all of our brothers-in-law who were in the partisan camps, and this instilled fear in him.
One day, Dimitry asked, Please, tell me the truth. Did the partisans visit you again? For throughout the village, they are saying that the partisans are surrounding the village again. Were they not with you again? My husband answered negatively. They were not with us in the latter period, since we told them that your relationship to us improved, and you give us better food. Dimitry asked my husband to tell the partisans not to come again, and he promised to keep us alive. From then, Dimitry began to relate better to us, sometimes giving us bread with some spread. We saw real signs of his improved relationship to us. Once again Dimitry turned to my husband and told him that throughout the village, people are pointing to him and speaking about him, for the footsteps of the partisans lead only to him. Dimitry explained that because of this, he has decided to arrange a party for the entire village. His intention was to bring the partisans even into his barn and to show them the cow that gave birth, the pig and the horse, that is to say his entire wealth. The intentions of the gentile were otherwise, since there were suspicions that the footsteps of the partisans lead only to him (these were the footsteps of my husband and son). He wanted to prove in this manner that he was fitting and proper.
Dimitry arranged the party, and all the Banderovchik Ukrainians enjoyed themselves nicely, became tipsy, and said that the Jewish partisans killed an entire village near Buchach, telling the victims: We are taking revenge upon you for you turned in the Jews to the Germans. Let this serve as a warning to all of you. Of course, Dimitry's sense of worth rose when he heard such stories.
The situation became more unstable. Once my husband said to Dimitry: Tonight the partisans came. I told them that we have no need for food, for we have sufficient. You give us enough. I asked them not to wander around any more and not to investigate further, since you, Dimitry, are to us like an angel from Heaven, doing everything for us. Dimitry heard the words of my husband and became proud. However the next day, after this conversation, Dimitry suddenly issued a command for us to get out of the pit. What happened Dimitry, what more do you want from us? He answered: I want to clean the pit, for there is the danger of disease. I want to change the straw in the pit, since you have slept on this old straw for ¾ of a year. He ordered us to strip, and he would give us new clothes. We should go to the attic until he cleaned the pit. He began to examine the rags that we took off. My husband, son and daughter stripped completely, but I waited to be last. I looked through the entrance at how he was searching, and became very anxious, for I had hidden a small gold watch with a few dollars in the collar. I collected all of this and hid it deep in the ground at the threshold of the barn. Marisa, Dimitry's wife, conducted a thorough search of me. Finally she brought us all a vessel full of water, told us to wash and go into the attic. We remained there for 2-3 days. The attic was very cold, and we literally froze from the cold. When we returned to the pit,
we were happy. In the meantime, Dimitry had aired out the pit and changed the straw. His intention was to check that the partisans had not left weapons with us. He dug and searched everywhere and did not find anything. My husband showed him that he had matches and a few cigarettes, left with him by the partisans. He took the matches from us. He suspected that we might have knives or guns. He was very afraid that we might be armed. After this, Dimitry's relationship with us again improved. He added some spread to the pig food, and he salted the food. At night, Dimitry would call my son to him to prepare and cut about ten bundles of straw. He would give him a piece of bread in return. The value of the bread was worth millions to us, more than fine gold.
The first time that Dimitry called my son up, I went up at night, and he showed me the piece of bread that he got from Dimitry. He took one bite of it, and while he was still holding it in his hands, the cow grabbed it from his hands. The boy screamed terribly. I approached the cow and opened its closed mouth, and the boy stuck his hands into its mouth and removed the bread from its throat. He divided the bread among all of us, but sweat was dripping from his face. How did he have the energy to turn the wheel of the cutter? Nevertheless, he performed this job with joy in the merit of the piece of bread that he received.
My husband suffered from heartburn and felt bad. At night he went to the barn and nursed from the goat's udder. The boy nursed from the cow's udder. Once Dimitry came to us in anger and asked: Why have the goat and the cow stopped giving milk. Perhaps you have started to nurse from the cow and the goat? My husband answered: You do not have to be suspicious of us. Certainly you have been skimping on their food. Give them better food, and they will continue to give milk. Among other things, he told us that his sister-in-law from the area of Krakow was coming to visit him. He added, I told wrote to her to come to visit us. I have to go to work in the field, and I do not have anywhere to leave my three-year-old daughter. I also am afraid to leave you alone, lest you desire to leave the pit.
About a week later, Dimitry's sister-in-law arrived, a girl of about 14. Dimitry sat with her and told him about us, that he is holding 4 Zhids, and woe unto him if anyone would find out. The girl listed to everything he said. After Dimitry and his wife went to the field, the girl wanted to get to know us. She brought us the small amount of food, and when we asked her to bring us some water, she did so. She also began to turn the cutter along with my son. We told our son to become friendly with her and tell her that she was pretty. After he won her confidence, the boy asked her to bake some pita cakes for us. The girl did so, and every day after her sister and brother-in-law went out to the field, she would bake a pita and bring it to us. The girl literally saved our lives. When my husband asked her to bring him a light so he could smoke, she would bring it to him. A great deal of good came from this friendship of ours with his young sister-in-law. The girl let me sew various things for her, and later also for her sister and her young child. As I was sewing, the girl sat in the barn to ensure that nobody would come to us. Her brother-in-law did not know about this, but later he found out. The mistress of the house wanted to pay with food for this, but she was afraid of her husband. There was a rumor in the village that wherever there was Jewish women, they would sew for the women of the village. Our mistress also wanted to benefit from this merit that a Jewess would sew for her. Indeed, I was not a professional seamstress, and I never was employed in sewing, but I knew enough to satisfy these villagers. Thus we again thought that the sun would again shine, and life would become more encouraging.
Suddenly Dimitry appeared with a new statement: They are saying in the villages that there will be an evacuation of all the villages, including our village. Therefore, what should I do with you? He advised us to go to his field and to dig a pit for ourselves there. His field was a large distance from here. Apparently, his intention was to take us out to the field and to murder us there. Since we did not want to act on his advice, he altered his request that at least two of us go out to the field and two of us remain. We decided not to separate, whatever would be. Here Dimitry was unable to kill us, for he was afraid of the revenge of the partisans who knew of our location, whereas in the field nobody would see and nobody would know what happened. We asked Dimitry to leave us in peace. We were already coming to the end of the war. We had heard from the partisans that the war was already reaching its final stages, and we had no intention to improve our situation. Dimitry claimed that his plan was for our benefit. We declined his favor and his concern for us, and decided to remain here as before, and to satisfy ourselves with several potatoes and a bit of water not more. When he saw that his plan did not work out, Dimitry became very angry to the point where he did not sleep.
The next morning, Dimitry came to us and called my husband to come out to him. We became very scared. Dimitry said the following to my husband: Shourz, you know that I do not sleep at night because of you. You are a thief and murderer. Why do you not listen to me? Why did this happen to me? I wished to save you at the risk of my life, and now my family and I are in danger only because of you. What will happen if the Germans order us to leave the village, and they send me out of the village with my family, and the Germans come in our place. What will you do then? My husband answered: Don't worry about us Dimitry. We will remain in the pit. And if the Germans come and find us, we will not say anything bad about you. I have given you my oath about this. If you are not here, you are not
responsible for us. We will say that we decided to settle in here because the placed was empty. Dimitry answered: But I will take everything with me and will not leave you any potatoes. My husband answered him: Dimitry, it is not your job to worry about us. There are still some people here who will bring us food. I mean the partisans. When Dimitry heard the words of my husband, he spat strongly on the ground and knocked on the door of the barn. My husband again turned to him and told him directly: Dimitry, do not worry about helping us and do not worry about us. I have relatives among the partisans, and they will provide for our needs.
Dimitry took advantage of the new situation that he created. He expressed his initiative by decreasing the already meager allotment of food and water that he served us. To our good fortune, the heart of Dimitry's niece was with us. She would bring us food discretely, and even gave her of her own food. We promised the girl to repay her and give her a plot of land that we would register in her name. The girl's origins were from a poor family, and on account of this, she denied food from her own mouth and gave it to us, along with sniffing tobacco and paper for smoking. This had a good influence on my husband's life. I had mentioned before that when my husband and son visited the house of the Subotnik in the nearby village, they also brought a section of a newspaper aside from food. Its content gave us some encouragement. The newspaper contained news about the partisans who were active in the region of Buchach. The headline of the newspaper had news about the situation of the front, where the situation of the Nazis was not good as far as one could determine from reading between the lines. This situation strengthened our hope for the destruction of the Nazis, and the recognition that any exit from the pit would only lead to death and destruction for all of us.
We did not see Dimitry for two weeks. After two weeks, he again appeared before us with a new byline. He had to travel to a wedding with his entire family, and nobody would be left here. He warned us not to leave the pit or make a sound. He would prepare us food for one day, that is a pot with pig food that we would keep in the pit with us. He would leave a bucket of water next to the pig, and those who would come in would think it was for the pig. Aside from this a shepherd lad would come to take out the cow and goat to pasture, and we had to be careful not to make any sound, not even a cough, which the shepherd lad might hear. For a moment we thought that this was another ruse from Dimitry, but at dawn he traveled from the house with his entire family and locked the barn. The shepherd came only after two hours and took the cow and goat with him. He walked to and fro around the barn and whistled as he walked. We remained in fear. Finally, the shepherd took the cow and goat and closed the barn. My husband could not control himself, and he went up to the barn. We felt that he was spending too much time up there, and I also went up to the barn. To my astonishment, I saw that my husband had hanged himself with the capes that he wore on his pants.
I ran to him and began to struggle with him and to remove the capes from the tree. The children heard the sound of my shouting and they also started to shout and cry. With great effort, we saved my husband from hanging. He claimed that he had already suffered more than enough, that he has no more energy to continue to suffer, and that he was angry that we disturbed his effort to commit suicide and put an end to his life.
The thing that affected his mood the most was the plague of lice. There was not even one centimeter of our flesh free of lice. This is what gave my husband the idea of suicide, even though he was apparently as strong as a lion and he used to encourage us. After all that befell us, our situation in the pit was an ideal situation. Despite this, the effort of picking out the lice day and night influenced my husband badly. My husband had a mark all the days of his life from the suicide attempt.
We were unable to withstand the test of leaving the pot of potatoes that Dimitry left us for the next day. That day, we ate the next day's portion. Dimitry told us that he is traveling for only one day. Another day passed and Dimitry had not returned, and in the meantime, we were suffering from pangs of hunger. My husband nursed from the goat, which relieved his heartburn a bit. We remained without food also on the second day of Dimitry's absence. We went to the barn and attempted to gather some food with bran from the pigpen. We lapped up the crumbs. My husband said that there was no other choice than to go into the house to find something to eat. We wanted to open the door of the barn, but it was impossible. We were left with only one option, to open up the hole through which my husband and son would go to search for food from the Subotniks. We had covered the opening in dung, and it remained in place. My son began to move away the dung until the hole was exposed. My son went out. My husband could not push through the hole, for his energy had left. My son went above and wandered around the yard. We told him to try to break into the house, but this was beyond his capabilities. We advised him to take out the window from its frame. The lad tried with all his energy, but could not. Finally he found a pickaxe and began to dig under the window until it came out. The boy took out the window, put it aside, and entered the inside of the house. It was dark outside, only the moon was shining. He found the supplies of milk that the shepherd had taken from the udders of the animals for the past two days. He brought in what he found through the hole, and he literally revived us with this. He entered the house once again through the open window and began to search for something to eat. He found the apron of the wife, and placed in it whatever he found: several slices of dry bread and a bit of cornmeal. He wrapped all this in the apron and dragged it into the pit through the hole. He also brought a bucket with clean water, so that we could quench
our thirst. Then my son wanted to replace the window in its frame, but he was not able to. He asked his father what to do, and his father told him to place the window on its side. He also told him to remove the small window of the barn so that there would be a bit more air. My son asked why he should also take out the window of the barn. My husband answered: We will tell Dimitry that the partisans, headed by my brother-in-law, opened the window. They called me, and I approached the window of the barn. My brother-in-law asked me if I had enough food, and we told him that you told us that you are going away for one day only, and now the second day and night have passed, we have nothing to eat, and we are literally dying of hunger. During their last visit, we told the partisans that you are giving us food, and therefore they did not bring any food with them. Now, when they heard that we were starving for bread, they took out the door of your house and the window from the barn, took everything they found in your house, and gave it to us through the window. They told us that they would return a few days later to find out what had happened to us. Thanks to this situation, my husband continued to nurse from the goat, and my son also learned how to nurse form the cow. After we satiated ourselves with the milk, the cow and the goat did not give any more milk.
Dimitry returned only after three days, and by his reckoning, we should have all been corpses. As Dimitry approached his house, the shepherd lad ran to him and informed him that there had been thieves in the house, who removed the windows of the house and the barn. Dimitry first called my husband and asked him what had happened there. My husband told him that the partisans, headed by my brother-in-law, had come. After they found out that we had not received food in two days, they searched through the house, and threw us out the food from the window. They then said that they would return to see what was happening with you. They also said that they were about to go to Buchach to attack the slanderers who turned the Jews in to the Gestapo. Not one of them or their families would be left alive. Then they would come here to see what had happened to us. They issued a warning to you through us, for there are thousands of them in various groups. They told us that our salvation is closer than we think, and all those who helped us will receive their reward. Whomever does bad to us will be repaid. Dimitry paid attention closely to these words and sighed loudly: Now my time and your time has come.
From then it was if Dimitry had been possessed by a demon. He did not sleep at night, and he would stand by the window and look outside. In addition, he began to get drunk by drinking strong liquor. This troubled us, for he was liable to tell everything to his acquaintances while he was drunk. Once, as he was bringing us a portion of food, my husband told him: Indeed you are right that you might indeed bring a disaster upon you and us, for you are not responsible for your actions. You are always drunk. He no longer retorted. Rather on occasion, he hosted revelries, invited his friends and acquaintances, and they drank to the point of drunkenness, and danced. He did this out of fear of the partisans. He lit up the entire yard, so that he would not have to be alone, and also with the reasoning that the partisans keep away from light that would impede their actions. They would prefer to be enveloped in darkness. As he was enjoying himself with friends, they began to discuss what is going on in the world of politics. Dimitry started, stating what the partisans had done near Buchach that they had set several villages on fire because they had turned Jews in. Dimitry improved our food portions slightly. He gave the excuse that we cannot find ourselves in a good situation which is to our benefit. It was only because of this that he had cut down the size of our food portions and stopped giving cigarettes. However, now a new chapter of events begins.
About two weeks after this, the Subotnik who assisted us in times of trouble and tribulation and provided us our food came. The Subotnik demanded a specific type of wheat for planting, and offered Dimitry to enter into a barter arrangement for this. They sat down on the grass, as was customary among the village farmers who love to sit and discuss politics and other matters. The Subotnik told Dimitry of the great good deed that was lost to him, and on account of this he is not able to sleep at night. It always seemed to him that a Jew and his son were with him and had requested food. He continued on that he regrets that he did not advise the Jew to stay with him so that he could hide him from the Germans. Through this, he would merit the Garden of Eden, and without this he would descend to Hell (Gehenom). The words of the Subotnik served as words of reproof to Dimitry that his conduct toward us had been merciless and full of despair. On the one hand, he was afraid of the partisans, and he was constantly restless and desperate. On the other hand, he saw no way to get rid of us. The Subotnik, as he was about to leave to his village, did not hesitate to point out: How great would my fortune be if I would hide with me such a Jew as the man who once owned the mill. What would I be lacking then? When the Russians return we will be lost in any case, for we assisted the Germans knowingly and unknowingly. The Russians are liable to cut our bodies to pieces and send us to the wasteland of Siberia, for we are considered enemies by the Soviets. Whoever hides a Jew has bought his world. I myself know, Dimitry my friend, that many Jews were hidden with the farmers in the villages, and many of them are with the partisans in the forest. Do not think, Dimitry, that the Germans will not ask for an accounting from each of us. There are already those people who will tell them everything. The Subotnik ended with goodnight wishes, and left.
We were able to overhear the entire conversation. Dimitry said to his wife Marisa: Did you hear? It is very possible that the Subotnik is correct, and that we followed the correct path. Indeed, it is difficult to correct it now. However, we must keep them until the end, and this will be to our benefit.
For I have no other choice, for the partisans know that I keep them with me, and I will have to give an accounting. Even if they were to die, they would force me to show them their bodies. It is clear that it is determined from Heaven that they will remain alive. We tried all means to do bad to them and afflict them, but Heaven protected them so that they survived. See Marisa, all the things that we did not do for them, and they stood up to the test and went through everything with strength and boundless patience. God in Heaven Himself stood at their side and gave them the strength to endure everything and remain alive.
A new phase began with Dimitry. He was very afraid of the revenge that would be exacted from him when the Russians returned. This discussion between the Subotnik and Dimitry caused a debate between my husband and I with respect to Dimitry. My husband said that if G-d would help us and we would leave the yoke of servitude, hunger and oppression in freedom, the first thing he would do would be to take revenge on Dimitry for all of the torments that he caused us. However, my opinion was otherwise. I saw Dimitry as the rod that was chosen by Divine providence to afflict us, and to remain alive despite everything. We had seen unspeakable acts of cruelty perpetrated against Jews by other murderers. Indeed his behavior was very far from the path of righteous and upright people. Despite this, he did give us of his bread and food in a meager fashion. As I lay in the dark bunker, I vowed that if G-d helps us and the four of us remain alive, I would forgive Dimitry with complete forgiveness, since I saw eye to eye that such was decreed upon us from Heaven. This was a difficult Divine decree from all perspectives, and we were expected to stand up to the test. It was good that we knew how to withstand the test and merit salvation and liberation from the yoke of servitude, from the yoke of the Nazis who wished to rule over the entire world, and from the yoke of other tribulations which we were chosen to endure. We must only rejoice and utter a blessing that we remained alive.
Dimitry's heart changed a bit for the better, and his relations to use improved a little. He would come to us in the pit, tell us various items of news and speak to us a bit. By nature, he was not very talkative. Two months later, he came to us again with a somewhat cheerful face. He said: I see that it is decreed from Heaven that you are to remain alive. The Russian armies are approaching us. What will it be? I don't think you will be permitted to forget about the good life that you had here with me. Do you know what it would be like to live under the Bolshevik police? You would never eat any more roast chicken, as you used to eat before the war. My husband answered him: Who needs roast chicken? We would be satisfied with a dry morsel of bread and a bit of tea. To this, Dimitry answered: If you are satisfied with such a small amount, your fate will not be bad. If you do not have any aspirations for a comfortable life as in other lands, your lot in life will be good with them.
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