Ordered to Leave

The dawn raid in September was just a taste of what was to come. On October 15, 1942, all the Jews of Rachow and the surrounding villages were ordered to leave their homes by 10 o’clock in the morning and report to the train station in Krasnik about 20 kilometers away. They were told that anyone who was found in their homes after that time would be shot.


The night before, as her family got ready to leave, my mother decided she didn’t want to go. She begged and she pleaded with her parents to think of somebody she could go to, another farmer she could work for. Her mother turned to her Father and said, “Maybe Stefan in Dombrowa.” That was all my mother needed, just a name. My mother insisted that Mania go with her, though. She knew that she couldn’t go off all alone. Mania didn’t want to go though. She wanted to stay with the family. But in the end, their mother told Mania to go with Esther.


Here in this picture, my mother and Mania are saying goodbye to their family and everyone is crying. In the front of the picture at the girls’ feet are baskets with tools for picking potatoes, which is how they expected they might be able to work. On the roof of the house, the crows are lined up. You’ll see that my mother included crows in several of her pictures, which for her were always associated with death.