Yisrael’s Story

After Yisrael recovered, the two brothers decided to flee the ghetto. This would not be an easy task at all. The boys wore rags, looked neglected, and it wasn’t difficult to see that they were Jewish. Despite the extreme danger, however, the boys managed to escape, and set out on their way towards their hometown of Gur. Along their route, Yisrael and Pessach found some friends who would help and protect them, and others who were willing to turn them in for the smallest reward.

In Gur, a non-Jewish friend of the family from before the war, named Mr. Mioduvski, took in the brothers for some time, feeding them and offering them a place to sleep. Once, while bringing water back from the well, a group of local boys called out to some German soldiers, accusing the brothers of being Jewish. Luckily, the soldiers thought that this was a joke and kept walking. After a few days, however, their host told Yisrael and Pessach that they would have to leave. The situation was becoming more dangerous for everyone. Resigning themselves to the necessity of moving on, the boys decided to take one last look at their old home before leaving Gur once again. They found their house still standing, completely empty and abandoned.

Compelled to continue their journey, the boys decided to head towards the village where some of their father’s relatives lived. They managed to find their father’s sister, Lieba and her family, who willingly shared whatever they had with Yisrael and Pessach. Soon, however, the boys felt that they were becoming a burden and decided to leave once again.

The wanderings from village to village became a matter of chance and instinct. The boys created a cover story to hide their identities as Jews, claiming that they were Polish orphans whose parents were killed in the bombing of Warsaw. After someone answered the door at the homes where they would seek assistance, the boys would even pretend to say a Christian prayer. But there was nothing they could do that would guide them towards any greater safety. Sometimes a villager or farmer at the door would give them a piece of bread, and other times the door would be slammed shut in their face. Sometimes, they would have to sleep outside. When it rained, their clothes would get wet, and the only way to keep warm was by holding on to each other.

After many long days of wandering, Yisrael and Pessach arrived in a ghetto in the town of Staszow, where they found a group of other Jewish refugees living in a synagogue. Here, the boys found some shelter just as Pessach began to complain of pains in his side.

“It was cold and the winter had arrived.”
—Yisrael Rosenblum

Yisrael deeply felt the personal tragedy that took his whole family. With the death of Pessach, he was now the only survivor. He found himself wandering from town to town, village to village, completely alone.