My maternal grandparents’ surname was Polyak. Before the revolution, the grandfather was the director of the Kyiv Jewish gymnasium (then there was opened a school number 19) and, according to my mom’s accounts, pupils of high school did not pay for their education. Grandma had her own carton factory. All the my mother’s brothers and sisters finished high school.
Our family lived on the Brats’ka street, 9, and after the Holodomor in 1933 we moved to the Sagaydachnogo street, 89. My parents worked as tailors. My father was a good specialist of suits, all respected him, often gave him bonuses, he had Stakhanivs’ka red book. The whole river flotilla knew my father. He sewn for many people.
We had no time to leave Kyiv. I remember when the Germans occupied the city, many people were afraid to go out. We lived in anticipation of something terrible ...
On the 28th of September on every street corner was posted the order for all the Jews to come to the Melnikova street. We did not know that there was a terrible road to the Babyn Yar. Then I was in the village of Dymerskyi area with my friend Maria Filipenko—we changed things for food there. Even then, my life was out on a limb: when Maria and I walked through the forest, we were stopped by a policeman and demanded documents, but Maria was not at a loss lose. She put me her birth certificate and said him that she forgot her one in the house, and I showed the policeman Maria’s birth certificate and he let us go.
We returned to Kyiv. It was unbearable to see how Khreschatyk was burning, how prisoners of war were dragged to the Darnitsa and how Jews were persecuted to their last journey ...
No reason to conceal that many people gloated, saying that it was necessary to take all the Jews away a long time ago, they squealed to Germans on those Jews whom they knew. Our family was in a state of shock: janitors and neighbors could squeal on us any minute. In our house settled traitor who called himself "pan Berezovskyi." On the 18th of February, 1942 a black car came and my whole family was arrested. My friend Maria Filipenko and her sister Tamara saw it. At that time I worked at the station Zhuliany, loaded sand in bulk on wagons for a loaf of bread a week. When the Germans introduced rationing system of bread, my parents did not get it, because it was necessary to produce documents ...
After my family arrest Maria ran to me and told that parents were arrested and that I could not go home, as the policemen did the ambush ... In the dorm in Zhuliany I lived not long. Janitor’s children searched me all over Kyiv, at the Podil area hung my photograph. Maria secretly removed it. Janitor’s children tracked me at long last. But even among the Germans were decent people. Taskmaster-German noticed the "diligence" of janitor’s children and told me: "Girl, get out while you are not arrested." And from February to the 14th of May , I lived as a tired out wolf – in the day I hid in the forest, and at night I wanted in for the night on the farm or in the village.
Later I got to know about the tragic fate of my family. At the Babyn Yar were killed my parents and three sisters – fourteen years old, three years and seven months. My grandmother, two uncles and aunt and their families were killed ib. So I was left an orphan, but still did not know that new trouble waited for me. When I came out from the forest to the road, I was captured by the Germans, thrown into a car and taken to the station for dispatch to Germany together with other teens. Then I was brought to Warsaw, then to Auschwitz. On the way, I ran away from the column, but in Poland I had nowhere to hide. At the border I was arrested and sent to Magdeburg, and from thence to Burg. More stronger rural boys and girls took away the landlords and others (we were 15 in all) were left in the camp. To work in a munitions factory. I was exhausted every day sank into a faint, and I was swilled up with water... The list is endless... I can only say that I was saved from execution by French patriots. They made sure that I was transferred to the Italian camp, where were fewer Russian and living conditions were better. On the 6th of May, 1945, the Red Army liberated us.
When I returned to my native Kyiv, it turned out that our apartment was occupied and ransacked. "Pan Berezovskyi" feathered our nest, he robbed many Jewish apartments. Maria Filipenko and her sister Tamara (who saw everything) told it me. I repeatedly asked the prosecutor, but to no avail. So I have not got the apartment up to now, but "pan Berezovskyi' and his family settled in captured in war-time apartment on the Khoryva street near the market “Zhytnii”. I lived in a dormitory, worked in publishing, then was dishoused. I wandered through the stations and in autumn,1947, I started off to Transcarpathian region.
Now I live in a room of 13 square meters. There live five of us. My grandson is disabled since childhood. We sleep on the floor. I have
recoursed to superior authorities, but to no avail. So the war is not over for me yet.