Portrait of a Holocaust Survivor

Rivka shares her story.

“I was a little girl in a small village near Tarnopol Poland. One day the Germans were out on the road and they were asking everyone if they were going to the right direction. My Father stood there without hesitation and answered them in German, “Go straight, then turn to the right, and then to the left.” Then the soldiers turned to my Father and answered in German, “Get out of here you cursed Jews.” Then they started to attack all the Jews in our village and we began running to all kinds of different places. We went to small town called… near Poviat Tarnopolskie, we lived there with my Uncle’s family.

My Father was a very ingenious man and he began to prepare a secret place in the attic of the house. He built a false floor where fifty people were able to hide and because it included two homes there was plenty of room to lay down. This is where we were hidden until some of the local police, who were Jewish, discovered it. They knew exactly where to search to find a possible bunker. So they opened the door and shouted, “Get Jews, get out!” And very slowly, slowly everyone began to move out. But I decided that I was not going out. Instead of moving forwards I moved backwards. There was some straw so I covered myself with the straw and everything was quiet. So I came out from hiding under straw and I looked through the windows and I saw my Mother with one boy holding her handing and one girl in her arms.”

You haven’t seen them since? Rivka, “Not one.”
The Germans took them all the same day? Rivka, “Everyone.”