KARTUZ-BEREZA 1993 YZKOR

 

Chapter VI - C

 

I SURVIVED

 

By Masha Eliashiv (Shtucker)

 

 

I will remember the year 1942 as the year I had the most horror in my life. From then on and until today, I can still hear the sounds of my pretty daughter's cry.She was pulled out of my arms. She was then only two and half years old. My second daughter was only one and half years old. Great was my suffering. I listened as my smallest one screamed: "mommy, mommy". I could not help her because I was thrown to the floor by strong blows that I received from the policeman because I defended my daughters. That year, 1942, I was taken together with my husbandís family to the Ozetol Ghetto. It was a small town 23 kilometers from where we lived in Ravida Vabusrka. The Ghetto was very small. In total they were two narrow back streets.

 

After a lot of effort we found a small room that we shared with seven people. The hardship was terrible. During the day we were bitten by flies and during the night by mosquitoes. The hardship, the flies and the mosquitoes meant nothing compared with the fear that reigned among us. We had no food. After a lot of effort, my husband got work in a Polish peasantís place and he was able in this way to secretly bring us some food sometimes.

 

My husband had been born in the area and he knew it very well. We began to think of a way of escaping to the forest, but my father-in-law (blessed his name) was an elderly man with many problems.My two daughters were also a problem. One morning after I woke up (I doesn't remember the exact date) as we thought of our future sufferings, I heard cries and screams. I looked out of the window and I saw Germans and Jews running in all directions.

 

I quickly put on a coat, took my two daughters and ran to the basement of the house where there was a shelter. We stayed there for two days and two nights. My husband was outside of the ghetto. When I left the shelter, I realized that I was alone with my two daughters. I didn't know where to go. I remembered that besides the Ghetto lived a Christian family whom my husband often spoke to me about. I knocked on their door. The woman answered and she said she was sorry but she could not help me. She sent me to a house on the other side of the street. I did not have any other alternative so I went there. The Gentile that answered the door told me that behind the house there was a cabin full with hay and I could hide there. I went there but I found it closed with a key. What to do? Beside the cabin I saw a stack of small logs. Somehow, I was able to make a place for myself under them. I went to bed thinking that it would be my end and, in this way, I fell asleep. Suddenly I heard somebody shouting in German "Are there Jews here"?The Gentile answered: "No Mister, there are not". I heard steps coming closer to the place where I was sleeping and, through the cracks, I saw a German dressed with his blue uniform entering to the cabin with a scythe in his hand. After some minutes, he left. It seemed that he looked for us in the hay. I stayed in the hiding place until the night. The owner came and I told him that I had not entered the cabin since it was locked with a key. He opened it for me and said that two other Jewish women would arrive. They came, but they only remained a short time because they wanted to go to a more secure place. I was alone and I didn't know that to do. Suddenly, on a sunny day, a peasant that lived near us in Broda Vaborska, who knew about my history, entered the cabin and told me: "Mrs. Eliashiv, today I will take you out of here". I didn't know that he had reached an agreement with the owner of the place.

 

That afternoon the owner of the place gave me a dress and a long kerchief that belonged to his wife to cover my head. He ordered me to get dressed with it. Then he gave me a pail and he told me that I should follow him because we had to go by a place that was watched over by Germans. We should look like we were going to milk cows. He showed me the road. Near the main road there was still a field sowed with wheat that had not been harvested. I should hide in the field and when another peasant passed by with his cart, I should follow it.

 

I said goodbye to the house owner and set out to go to the field near the road. Suddenly, a Gentile shouted at me; " Hi Jew! Where are you going? They will kill you anyway". It was harvest time and men worked in the fields. I began to walk, the terrible fear brought perspiration to my face and my legs trembled, but I continued walking until I reached the wheat field.My heart was beating so fast that it could explode. Finally the cart came and I followed it. It was necessary to walk another kilometer until I reached the forest. The road was full with people. It seems that it was my destiny to live. Then luck smiled on me and I found my husband and my father-in-law. My husband knew the area and the forests and he helped me to face all difficulties. Thanks to their concern we could also survive this. In 1945, when the war ended, I felt no happiness. On the contrary, I could not accept that I was still alive and all my dear people were not. I will remember them always and tell about them. Their names will be with me until the last minute of my life and I will never forget them.

Be blessed their memory!!