Just five days after their initial attack on Warsaw, Nazi troops marched into her small town that was in Poland bordering Germany. They closed all Synagogues, executed the first Jew they saw and assigned the rest of them to hard labor.
Miriam and other young girls had the grueling task of clearing snow and stones off a field, only to be ordered to put the stones back the very next day. Anyone not working hard enough, in the eyes of the Nazis, was ruthlessly beaten. Before long, Miriam and the others were transported to Ghetto Lodz. They lived there for a month: Sleeping in the cold, winter streets on makeshift straw mattresses before being marched back to town, where another Ghetto had been prepared. One by one, Miriam’s sister, brother, and grandmother were sent off to different camps; she never saw them again. Miriam can still recall the sounds of wailing and sobbing as family members were separated.
In 1942, Miriam was sent back to Ghetto Lodz, a place of starvation, sickness and constant death, only to be taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau two years later. The chaos which greeted them and ensuing months of living constantly surrounded by death were, in Miriam’s words, “beyond the realm of human language” to describe.
Thankfully, this nightmare ended when the camp was liberated in the spring of 1945.
Miriam’s parents and all but one of her siblings did not survive the war. Once freed, Miriam began her journey to the land of Palestine – soon to become Israel – on the ‘Biria.’
In this ship, the Jewish passengers were packed together like sardines with hardly any access to food, but the hope of arriving in a Jewish homeland kept them alive.
Upon arrival, British troops detained Miriam and the other passengers on charges of traveling to Palestine illegally, but as British rule in Palestine was withering, the war victims were eventually released.
Miriam recalls dancing in the streets on the day Israel declared statehood. After years of living in a nightmare, she was now witnessing a dream: The Jewish people finally had a home! Today Miriam is a proud mother of three, grandmother of nine, and great grandmother of seven beautiful children.
Miriam is one of the residents at the “Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors”. As her health diminishes, she is grateful for the care and companionship she enjoys at the Home. You can contribute to this work, which ensures these precious survivors are surrounded by love in the remaining years of their lives.